Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Recruitment Statistics & Trends: March-April 2020

By Emma Parkins, TBOS

This article has been produced from data recorded by TBOS from week ending 12th March 2020 – 9TH April 2020.

Here at TBOS, we regularly produce internal weekly reporting to better understand our business and to analyse current trends in the recruitment industry. Since the news has broken of COVID-19 we have been taking a closer look at our recruiting clients’ figures, in the hope that we can share trends with our wider recruitment community online.

These findings will hopefully give some valuable insight into how the recruitment industry is currently behaving in the midst of the outbreak.

Please note these figures are based on a group of 100 recruiting clients who supply contract and permanent staff across various sectors including IT, healthcare, education and more.


Although we cannot produce a debt turn figure, TBOS can confirm the overall percentage of overdue debt on our books. With that said, in the last month (w/e 12th March and w/e 9th April 2020) it has increased from 31.61% to 36.45% which is a 4.84% increase.

This is due to accounts departments working remotely and reducing the number of payment runs they would normally process within a month.


The below data has been taken from w/e 13th February and w/e 9th April 2020.

  • IT contractor numbers have remained steady as most contractors are able to work remotely.
  • 198% increase in cleaning contractors, this is a direct result of some recruiting clients winning contracts within the medical sector, this figure is likely to grow over the next month.
  • 82% reduction in engineering contractors due to clients their closing sites.
  • 32% initial increase in administration contractors due to requirement to cover sick staff however, this has dramatically reduced recently, with a 66% drop due to offices no longer being open during this time.
  • 27% initial increase in driving contractor roles from w/e 13th February – w/e 12th March 2020 due to high demand from large food retailers but has since plateaued to their previous numbers as the panic buying seems to have calmed down from w/e 12th March – w/e 9th April 2020.
  • 52% decrease in teaching contractors due to schools closing, with some schools still providing services to children of key workers. We believe with the government instructing public sector bodies to process furlough on behalf of agency workers, this will ensure teachers are still paid during school closures.

With all this in mind, TBOS has looked at our overall contractor numbers across all of our agency clients and found that there has been a 14% drop in contract placements over the last 5 weeks (w/e 12th March – w/e 9th April 2020).


Unfortunately, there has been a 34% drop in permanent placements across our agencies in the past 5 weeks (from w/e 12th March – w/e 9th April 2020).  We believe this will continue to drop over the next 4-6 weeks as many permanent positions require staff to be on a client site either for their induction or day-to-day working.


2019 NEW CLIENTS                                              2020 NEW CLIENTS

1st January to 31st March 2019                             1st January to 31st March 2020

78% Start ups                                                        78% Existing agencies

22% Existing agencies                                          22% Start ups

When we compare the figures for both years, we can see that there has been a simple switch from start ups being more popular last year and then existing agencies being more popular this year.

Whilst we believe that the pandemic will reduce the number of new clients for TBOS, the number of enquiries we are still receiving consist mainly of existing agencies needing our service to help them manage their cash-flow situation, arrange finance (either through invoice finance or CBIL) or reduce their overheads on their back office and accounting team.

We do however, expect it to pick up again on start-up enquiries when the lockdown has been lifted. We believe many people are currently planning their new recruitment businesses during their down time and then launching it when things are a little clearer in the industry.

Stewart Roberts, TBOS Commercial Director comments...

By producing this report, we have seen that this pandemic is having a negative and positive effect on certain industries who are able to adapt and change during this time.  If recruitment agencies can adapt to meeting the demands of their specialist industry there is more chance of them surviving this current down-turn and enable them to bounce back once the market picks up again.

We believe once we come out of lockdown and return to normality that the recruitment market will be able to fill the roles they have not been able to fill for the past 18-24 months. Where it has been a candidate short market, there will be a switch and there will be an influx in candidates which means more choice for recruitment agencies to fill roles.



If you need to sort out your recruitment accounts or would like some more guidance on how to start a recruitment business, TBOS can certainly help. We offer pay-as-you-go solutions that cover the full back-office and finance requirements for any size or type of recruitment business.

Feel free to contact our office for more information on these services.