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Recruitment Industry Grows as Unemployment Rate Falls

Unemployment in the UK has fallen significantly over the past five years. In February 2013, The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported an unemployment rate of 7.8%, but since then there has been a consistent drop in the figure – which currently stands at 4.4%.

Over the same period of time there has been exponential growth in the UK recruitment industry – there are now more than 30,000 UK-based recruitment businesses, with over 5,000 new firms registered with Companies House in 2017 alone. Over 70% of the UK’s recruitment businesses were registered after 2010 and there is clear evidence of continuing year-on-year growth.

Current ONS data indicates that not only is unemployment at its lowest level since 1971, there are also more vacant positions now than at any point since 2008. The number of UK job vacancies has generally been increasing over the past five years, and recruitment agencies are best-placed to ensure candidates are aware of available positions, as well as providing a fast, simple and cost-effective means for employers to fill positions.


Life expectancy in the UK has reached 81.6 years, and people are tending to stay active within the workforce for much longer than would previously have been expected. Many older workers look for part-time work before taking full retirement, or take up part-time positions after retiring in order to stay busy. Other groups – such as students and parents with young children – may also have a preference for part-time, casual or contract work that can be fitted around other commitments. Such workers may struggle to find employment through conventional means, but recruiters are able to discuss a candidate’s availability and demands in order to find the best suited employment for them.

Another trend to pay attention to is seasonalisation, whereby companies take on additional labour at times of increased demand – such as the Christmas period, for example. Businesses that engage with recruitment agencies are able to fill their additional seasonal demand at short-notice without having to embark on costly and time-consuming recruitment drives.


Despite the rise in part-time employment, the sharpest growth has been in the number of full-time workers. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), recruiters helped almost 1,000,000 people to find a permanent job in 2016/17, and there has also been an increase in the demand for skilled and specialist workers.

By working alongside recruitment agencies, businesses are able to streamline their hiring process, as recruiters are able to match them with appropriate candidates who have already been fully screened and vetted – allowing companies to hire new employees more quickly and in full confidence.


Recruitment agencies bring advantages for workers and employers, providing workers with improved access to employment opportunities whilst offering time, efficiency and cost benefits to businesses.

Here at Foresight, we are acutely aware of the competitive climate that we are working within, and are constantly striving to stand out from the crowd. With so many new recruitment agencies springing up all the time, employers may find it hard to decide which agencies to engage with. By choosing to work with us, you are guaranteed to be selecting an agency with talented and motivated staff that can bring about the maximum possible advantage for your business. The trends in the UK job market clearly show that recruiters are playing a greater role than ever before, so contact us today to see what we can do for you.