Recruitment Forecast for 2017

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March 2017

Recruitment Forecast for 2017

Despite uncertainty around exactly what shape Brexit will take, the UK economy is continuing to do well. 

Tech giants such as IBM, Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook plan to expand their British operations regardless of the referendum result, and the government’s industrial strategy will invest £2bn to support commercial opportunities in new technologies.

The technology sector in particular is creating massive opportunities. With technology jobs in London alone forecast to grow by a fifth over the next decade, according to the official promotional firm for London, not-for-profit public-private partnership London & Partners, Britain looks likely to retain its crown as the European capital of technology.

Other sectors expected to grow include renewable energy, cyber security and engineering, as well as jobs directly related to Brexit – including specialist advisers, legal experts and change management specialists. Many of these roles will involve sourcing skilled contractors and businesses will turn to recruitment agencies to help them find the talent they need.

However, with skills shortages already pronounced across many sectors, a hard Brexit threatens to exacerbate the ‘brain drain’ as it may become increasingly difficult for businesses to hire skilled workers from the EU. The recruitment sector should be well-placed to assist as businesses will be leaning heavily on agencies’ access to skilled talent and industry knowledge to bridge the demand. Contractor roles in particular look set to become increasingly key as demand has risen since the referendum.

Certainly the industry mood is buoyant. The recruitment industry now contributes more to the economy than advertising, arts and recreation, and the food & beverage industries. According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation's latest 'Recruitment Industry Trends' report. the sector as a whole has grown by 9% since last year, and is now worth £35.1bn, employs over 100,000 people and includes 23,980 registered agencies, of which almost 10,000 now turnover more than £250k annually. 

Last year also saw a record number of new recruitment agencies established, with 4,529 registered in total – an increase of 13.7% on the previous year. Interestingly, most of these agencies were registered in the latter half of the year, post-referendum, suggesting that rather than being disheartened by the result, many recruiters have spotted an opportunity.

Given that the recruitment sector tends to act as a bellwether for the wider economic climate, this is good news for everyone.

As the demand for jobs in sectors such as IT and technology soar, recruitment agencies will become more important than ever before. The most successful recruiters will be those that can attract international talent back to the UK and help supply businesses with the right talent. 

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