Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Record number of new recruitment businesses entered market in 2016

Recruitment industry has grown by 56% over last five years

2016 saw the highest number of new recruitment agencies on record opening their doors for the first time, according to a leading PR & Marketing Communications firm for the recruitment industry.

Figures obtained by Clearly PR & Marketing Communications this week, under a Freedom of Information request from Companies House, show that 4,529 new recruitment businesses were registered between January and December 2016 – an increase of 13.7% (up from 3,984) over the same period in 2015.

In 2014, 3,037 new agencies were registered while 4,193 and 1,528 were registered in 2013 and 2012 respectively.

Since 2012, a total of 17,271 new agencies have registered with the total number of recruitment businesses registered as currently trading in the UK now standing at 26,901 – an increase of 56% over the last five years.

Commenting on these latest findings, Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, Managing Director of Clearly PR & Marketing Communications, said: “To say that the recruitment industry is performing well, is a gross understatement.

“Employer hiring and the UK economy both remain strong and this is reflected in the number of recruitment entrepreneurs wanting to capitalise on positive trading conditions and go it alone. This is clearly having an impact on the sector itself too.

“Figures published by the REC in December showed that the recruitment industry is now worth £35.1 billion a year – up from £26.5 billion in the year 2012/13.”

The figures obtained by Clearly PR & Marketing Communications show an interesting trend over the course of the last 12 months.

During the first half of the year, the number of newly registered recruitment businesses was low – perhaps in anticipation of the Brexit vote.

But within the two months immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU in June, 1,051 new recruitment agencies were registered – representing almost 1 in 4 (23%) of all new agencies registered throughout the whole of 2016.

That momentum gathered pace and as we edged closer towards the end of the year, when 1,315 (29%) new agencies were registered in November and December alone.

“Confidence is high in the sector right now and we expect it to remain so as we move further into 2017," said Paul MacKenzie-Cummins. "But to stay ahead in the ever-increasingly competitive recruitment landscape, recruitment business owners need to consider how they are perceived and positioned in their market.

“Gone are the days when agencies could rely on their ‘name’ or track record of success to help win new clients and candidates. Today, savvy recruiters are those who understand the need to be seen and heard by the right people, in the right way and at the right time. 

“In practice, that means having an appealing brand that is communicated through a strong social media presence, enhanced client and candidate engagement (not just selling), and having an active presence in the media where their target audience ‘hangs out.'”

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