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UK Recruitment market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Recruitment market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

The recruitment industry consists of firms, agencies, consultants, and a range of online services, placing both permanent and temporary employees into work. Overall, recruiters refer to third-party organisations that aim to match appropriate employees with employers.These recruiters typically operate from specific skills-based, general skills-based, and specialist agents.The definition of e-recruitment is any recruitment activity in which the main method of correspondence and communication is over the internet.

Company profiles

  • Adecco UK
  • Hays Plc
  • Impellam Group UK
  • Page Group
  • Reed
  • Reed Learning
  • Reed Specialist Recruitment
  • Robert Walters
  • SThree

Market Segmentation

  • Accounting/financial
  • Blue collar
  • Computing and IT
  • Construction
  • Drivers
  • Education/teaching
  • Executive/professional
  • Hotel/catering
  • Human resources

What you need to know

The recruitment market maintained impressive value growth in the past year. Despite fears that Brexittied uncertainty could trigger drawbacks in hiring, the market has remained busy, whilst unemployment is the lowest it has been for more than 40 years. Moreover, the industry has found new avenues for growth, particularly within the temporary recruitment sector, as more companies favour flexible means of employment.

However, the market remains marked by the UK’s widening skills shortage, which continues to constrain potential growth by limiting supply to the market. Looking forward, this issue is set to be exacerbated by Brexit, and any changes to the free movement of EU workers resulting from negotiations. Nonetheless, Mintel expects the recruitment market continue to grow in the coming years, though growth is expected to remain subdued relative to previous years, a further reflection of the UK’s air of uncertainty.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Marco Amasanti, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The recruitment market continued to defy expectations in the past year, overcoming fears of a potential drawback in hiring to further its period of growth. This ongoing air of uncertainty, and the hesitancy introduced, continues to shape activity in the market, primarily through the surging popularity of temporary recruitment. The flexibility offered by this sector continues to make it compatible with fluent workplace dynamics. Marco Amasanti
B2B Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • The recruitment market maintains growth, though this remains pressured somewhat by the ongoing air of uncertainty
              • Figure 1: UK recruitment market value and forecast, £ billion, 2014-23
            • Growth in temporary recruitment continues to surpass the permanent sector
              • Companies and brands
                • Continued growth in new recruitment agencies
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Growing skills shortages
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Ongoing impact of Brexit uncertainty
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                • Recruitment industry continues to grow, though this remains pressured by the air of uncertainty
                                  • Growth in temporary recruitment continues to surpass the permanent sector
                                    • Market forecast to maintain growth in the coming years
                                    • Market Size

                                      • Market value continues year-on-year growth
                                        • Figure 2: UK recruitment market value, £ billion, 2014-18
                                      • Public sector employment continues to fall alongside centralisation efforts
                                        • Figure 3: Total UK public sector employment, '000, 2014-18
                                      • Private sector employment accelerates in 2018
                                        • Figure 4: Total UK private sector employment, '000, 2014-18
                                    • Market Segmentation

                                      • Temporary recruitment continues to dominate amid uncertainty
                                          • Figure 5: Recruitment market value, by type, £ billion, 2014-18
                                        • Temporary recruitment segmentation remains largely stable in 2018
                                          • Figure 6: Segmentation of temporary and contract employment through recruitment, % by volume, 2016 and 2017
                                          • Figure 7: Segmentation of temporary and contract employment through recruitment, % by volume, 2017
                                        • Education, healthcare and driver sectors propel permanent recruitment demand
                                          • Figure 8: Segmentation of permanent employment through recruitment, % by volume, 2016 and 2017
                                          • Figure 9: Segmentation of permanent employment through recruitment, % by volume, 2017
                                      • Market Forecast

                                        • Market forecast to maintain growth in coming years
                                          • Figure 10: UK recruitment market forecast, £ billion, 2014-23
                                        • Population projections
                                          • Figure 11: National working age population projections, million people, mid-2016 and mid-2041
                                      • The Impact of the Economy

                                        • Business confidence and investment
                                            • Figure 12: UK Business investment, £ million, Q1 2015-Q1 2018
                                            • Figure 13: UK business confidence index, Q3 2012-Q3 2018
                                        • Market Trends

                                          • Employment levels
                                            • Figure 14: UK Employment levels, '000 people, 2009-18
                                            • Figure 15: UK employment rate, % of those aged 16 to 64, 2009-18
                                          • Unemployment levels
                                            • Figure 16: UK unemployment rate, % of those aged 16 and over, 2009-18
                                          • Job vacancies
                                            • Figure 17: UK job vacancies, '000 vacancies, May-July 2009-18
                                            • Figure 18: Job vacancies by industry, May-July 2017 and May-July 2018
                                          • Regional differences
                                            • Figure 19: Regional analysis of UK employment rates, % of those aged 16 to 64, April-June 2017 & 2018
                                            • Figure 20: Regional analysis of UK employment, employment rates, March 2018
                                        • Market Drivers

                                          • Brexit uncertainties and the potential supply shock
                                            • Skills shortages
                                              • Training required to meet skills shortage
                                                  • Figure 21: UK Growing skills shortages, number of unemployed people & number of job vacancies, '000 people and '000 vacancies, 2009-18
                                                • GDPR
                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Continued rise in new recruitment agencies
                                                  • Industry Structure

                                                      • Changes in the structure of the industry
                                                        • Figure 22: Analysis of the changes in the structure of the recruitment industry, number of outlets and businesses, 2013-17
                                                      • Structure by employment
                                                        • Figure 23: Analysis of the employment structure of the Recruitment industry, 2016 and 2017
                                                      • Structure by turnover
                                                        • Figure 24: Analysis of the financial structure of the recruitment industry, £'000 and businesses, 2016 and 2017
                                                    • Company Profiles

                                                        • Adecco UK
                                                          • Recent company activity
                                                            • Financial information
                                                              • Figure 25: Financial analysis of Adecco UK, £ million, 2013-17
                                                            • Hays Plc
                                                              • Financial information
                                                                • Figure 26: Financial analysis of Hays Plc, £ million, 2013-17
                                                              • Impellam Group UK
                                                                • Recent company activity
                                                                  • Financial information
                                                                    • Figure 27: Financial analysis of Impellam Group, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                  • Page Group
                                                                    • Recent company activity
                                                                      • Financial information
                                                                        • Figure 28: Financial analysis of Page Group, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                      • Reed
                                                                        • Reed in Partnership
                                                                          • Financial information
                                                                            • Figure 29: Financial analysis of Reed in Partnership, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                          • Reed Online
                                                                            • Financial information
                                                                              • Figure 30: Financial analysis of Reed Online, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                            • Reed Learning
                                                                              • Financial information
                                                                                • Figure 31: Financial analysis of Reed Learning, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                              • Reed Specialist Recruitment
                                                                                • Financial information
                                                                                  • Figure 32: Financial analysis of Reed Specialist Recruitment, £ million, 2013-2017
                                                                                • Robert Walters
                                                                                  • Recent company activity
                                                                                    • Financial information
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Financial analysis of Robert Walters, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                                    • SThree
                                                                                      • Recent company activity
                                                                                        • Financial information
                                                                                          • Figure 34: Financial analysis of SThree Plc, £ million, 2013-17
                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                            • Methodology
                                                                                            • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                              • Trade associations
                                                                                                • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
                                                                                                  • Recruitment and Employment Confederation
                                                                                                    • Association of Professional Staffing Companies
                                                                                                      • Recruitment Society
                                                                                                        • Trade magazines
                                                                                                          • Human Resources
                                                                                                            • Online Recruitment Magazine
                                                                                                              • People Management
                                                                                                                • Personnel Today
                                                                                                                  • Recruiter
                                                                                                                    • Recruitment International
                                                                                                                      • Trade events
                                                                                                                        • Recruitment Agency Expo
                                                                                                                          • Recruitment Agency Expo