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The UK permanent recruitment industry resumed growth in 2010/2011 after contracting for 2 years in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. In a new Market Report -- Recruitment Agencies (Permanent) -- market intelligence provider Key Note forecasts that the value of the permanent recruitment market will grow by 3.9% in 2011/2012, but is unlikely to return to pre-recession levels before 2016.
The recruitment industry is now much smaller than it was before the recession, with fewer companies operating in the market; skills shortages in some sectors (such as engineering) remain an ongoing problem for recruitment agencies. A recent study on the recruitment sector recorded a higher percentage of recruitment firms naming a shortage of skills or experienced candidates as a more serious issue than economic conditions.
In the year ending March 2011, the value of the permanent recruitment market and the number of permanent placements made increased by 37% and 38.3%, respectively, compared with the previous 12 months. In 2010/2011, the secretarial/clerical sector accounted for the highest share of permanent staff placements, while the professional/managerial sector, on top of the list in the previous year, fell to third place. Most sectors witnessed an increase in demand in 2010/2011, especially jobs in the secretarial/clerical and accounting/financial sectors.
Overall, the immediate outlook for the permanent staff recruitment market appears better than it was for 2009/2010; however, Key Note suggests that a strong recovery in the sector is unlikely as companies continue to be cautious and are reluctant to create a large number of new positions.