Why the recruitment industry is crucial in the recovery of the UK economy

The recruitment industry is crucial

COVID-19 has had an extraordinary impact on the economy, as well as the landscape of work. In the space of just 12 months, we’ve seen a mass shift to remote working, around 10 million people have been furloughed, and redundancy numbers soared.

But despite all this, there’s a huge amount to feel optimistic about. We know that the recruitment industry plays a crucial role in the UK economy. Nearly £1 in every £20 that’s contributed to the British economy is supported by the recruitment industry, and over six million workers (a fifth of the entire workforce) found their current job through the recruitment industry.

The performance of the industry, its impact on UK productivity, and the value it contributes to the country’s economic recovery plan is highlighted in the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) 2021 Recruitment and recovery study. Below you’ll find three of the key insights from the REC study, along with the work we’re doing at ManpowerGroup to upskill workers; equipping them with the skills employers need and ensuring they remain employable in the fast-changing world of work.

Recruitment is a major driver of UK productivity

The recruitment industry has a direct impact on enhancing the competitiveness and productivity of the UK economy, by supporting £86 billion in gross value added to the economy. On top of this, the recruitment industry makes it easier for employers to find the talent they need:

  • £7.7 billion of productivity is unlocked by the industry each year, through improving the quality of candidate/employer matching
  • 77% of companies said that on average the workers they’ve found through a recruitment agency are a good match
  • Nearly 1 million people are placed into workforces every day as temporary workers and 19% of companies hiring temporary workers estimated they wouldn’t be able to operate at all without these workers

At ManpowerGroup, we support 5000 employers with our innovative workforce solutions every year and place 30,000 talented jobseekers into temporary jobs every week in the UK alone, so we’re well-equipped to understand and source the talent needed.

Recruitment creates new opportunities for workers and a more inclusive labour market

The recruitment industry also contributes to social mobility, in helping people find their first job, supporting them back into the workplace after redundancy, or developing their careers by showing them how their skills could be used in another environment.

Every year in the UK, around 280,000 people use temporary work and the associated flexible hours to manage their other responsibilities, like caring for family members, and 300,000 people use the recruitment industry as a way of transitioning from unemployment to permanent work.

  • 30% of temporary workers thought they would be unlikely to find as good a position without an agency
  • Every 21 seconds an individual finds a permanent role through a recruitment agency
  • 62% of businesses said that working with a recruitment agency has helped them increase the diversity of candidates they considered and 63% said that working with an agency has helped to increase the diversity of new recruits

While there are still huge strides needed within diversity and inclusion, recruiters are in the unique position of ensuring that race and diversity are not only at the forefront of their own workforce, but also within the workforces and recruitment policies of businesses across the country. We can remove discriminative barriers and help to build a more diverse and better talent pool to meet hiring needs.

Recruitment helps to accelerate the recovery of our economy

Recruitment activities were essential to help keep vital services running during the height of the pandemic. Going forward, the industry will continue to play a major role in placing workers into new jobs, helping employers adapt to changes like long-term remote working, and influencing a more diverse and inclusive labour market.

The recruitment industry also helps to keep unemployment rates low by providing flexibility within the labour market:

  • 28% of large businesses said they’re likely to explore hiring people who do not live close to the office
  • 45% of businesses said they have experimented with more flexible working hours
  • Remote working could boost UK productivity by £9 billion

Through our spread of branches across the UK, and our now more agile workforce we are able to offer both a local and national approach to placing individuals into work. What we’ve learnt in the last year is that proximity to your premises no longer deters the best talent.

Our commitment to upskilling workers

Recruiters and employers have a responsibility to support workers with skills development and training, so that they can excel in future career opportunities. Although 84% of employers plan to upskill their workforce, 52% of British workers surveyed in the REC report said that they undertook less than five hours of training a year in their job, meaning there’s a disconnect between the intention and reality, which needs to be addressed.

At Manpower, we are committed to advancing workers’ skills to meet employers’ current and future needs, as well as the employability prospects and career goals of workers. Our high-performing associates can opt into MyPath: our comprehensive upskilling programme which provides personalised guidance, development and training opportunities, and access to in-demand jobs. Through our mission to continually improve the skills of people wherever they are, we can use our expertise to upskill your business too.

We’re ready to help build back the UK economy and we’re here to support your hiring needs as we celebrate the REC’s campaign to build a more productive and inclusive labour market. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together

Back to listing