Reflecting on 2023, 44% of agencies said that the year was worse or a lot worse than they had expected, whereas a smaller proportion (32%) found the year to be better or a lot better than expected. Permanent only recruitment agencies fared the best in 2023 with 40% finding the year to be better or a lot better than expected. 33% of agencies that handled both permanent and temporary vacancies found the year to be better, whilst only 25% of temporary vacancy only agencies said the year was better.
The survey also found that the newer the agency was, the more likely it was that they found 2023 to be better than expected. 44% of agencies that had traded less than 2 years found the year to be better or a lot better than expected. Whereas this figure fell to 33% for agencies that had traded for between 3 and 5 years and to 14% for agencies that had traded between 6 and 10 years.
Despite the challenges of 2023, recruitment agencies remain confident about the prospects for 2024. 85.29% of agencies were either optimistic or very optimistic about 2024.
Vincent Seddon, Customer Director for Simplicity commented on the survey results:
“It is clear that in 2023, despite many employers struggling to attract new employees in sufficient numbers, recruitment agencies in many cases did not meet their businesses' expectations. It is testament though to the entrepreneurial spirit and drive of the people running these agencies that they remain optimistic about the prospects for 2024”.
The survey also asked agencies about the challenges that agencies faced in 2023. 67% of agencies found sourcing candidates to be either a major challenge or something of a challenge. 53% of agencies cited gaining new clients and 44% said inflationary pressures.
“The challenges that agencies experienced in 2023 are also a pointer towards those that agencies, who wish to thrive in 2024, will again have to overcome. At Simplicity we are 100% committed to partnering with agencies and helping them establish and grow their businesses whatever the year may bring”.