New figures have revealed that the total number of newly registered recruitment agencies in the UK was higher in April than at any time over the last six years.

Figures obtained from Companies House found that a total of 1,199 agencies were registered as newly trading agencies between 1st – 30th April, compared to 981 in March. This puts the start-up rate for recruitment agencies higher last month than at any time since 2012. Since the start of 2018, over 3,900 (3,957) have been registered.

There are currently 39,232 recruitment agencies registered as trading in the UK. With the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing there are 2.67 million limited companies as of end of March, this equates to around 67 businesses per recruitment agency.

The continued rise in the number of recruitment start-ups is reflective of the confidence of the sector compared to other areas of the economy. While several industries have seen a downturn, as a consequence of the government’s failure to provide clarity over Britain’s trading relationship with Europe once Brexit comes into effect, the recruitment industry remains buoyant.

Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, managing director at Clearly PR, said, “The skills shortage continues to trouble many employers. Companies are increasingly concerned about their ability to find and attract the right talent to fill their vacancies – it is getting harder for them.

“For a growing number of employers, seeking external support in the form of a recruitment agency has moved from being a nice-to-have to an essential element of their hiring strategy. This is fuelling the recruitment start-up economy which is enjoying its fastest growing period in years.”

Last week it was reported that 1,600 IT and engineering workers who had been offered jobs in the UK were denied visa between December and March. But this is only the tip of the proverbial skills crisis iceberg.

The same report stated that 1,876 medical practitioners and healthcare workers and 197 teachers were also refused permission to take up their job offers in the UK over the same period.

It’s a similar picture when it comes to STEM recruitment, which has recently been put at costing £1.5 billion a year.

While 2017 was the strongest year for the sector since 2012 in terms of the start-up rate, the number of new players entering the market this year suggests that 2018 could see an equally impressive period of growth.

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