According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) the UK temporary and contract staff recruitment industry resumed growth after seeing its market value contract year on year from 2008 to 2010. Compared with the previous 12 months, the number of placements in the temporary and contract staffing sector grew by 19.3% in the year ending March 2011.

In the same year, the size of the market for temporary and contract staff increased by 24.2%, to a value of £22.1bn. The three largest sectors in temporary and contract recruitment are currently industrial and blue collar; secretarial and clerical; and computing and IT. Together they represent around half of the temporary and contract recruitment market in terms of the number of placements in 2010/2011.

The economic uncertainty is a major concern for employers and, as research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows, nearly half of UK organisations reduced their resourcing budgets in 2011 as a result of the current economic climate. Temporary and contract recruitment meanwhile appears to have benefited from the public-sector recruitment freeze, with hiring levels for temporary employees by public organisations rising in the first quarter of 2012.

The REC’s Medium Term Forecast predicts the recruitment industry’s annual growth at 3.6 per cent next year (2011/12) followed by 4.7 per cent in 2012/13, rising to 7.1 per cent for 2013/14 and 7.3 per cent in 2014/15. This represents a return to single figure growth over the next four years to reach a new peak of £30.8 billion in 2014/15.

Key facts

     There are approximately 91,114 people working in the recruitment industry

     Estimations indicate there are 17,000 employment agencies in the UK

     During 2011 turnover in temporary/contract staffing hit £22 billion

     Temporary placements jumped 19% to top the million mark last year

     Permanent recruitment turnover reached £2.5 billion during 2011

     Volumes of perms placements rose by 38.3 % to 604,193