Do You Know How Many Recruitment Agencies Were Started Last Year? You’ll Be Shocked…


Companies House records reveal that an average of 818 new agencies were registered every month in 2017. That’s more than 9000 new start-up recruitment companies, taking the total number of agencies in the UK to over 35,000. According to Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, the Managing Director of ClearlyPR who conducted the research, the growth in the number of recruitment agencies has been gathering momentum over the past few years. Speaking to, he said:“Last year saw a doubling in the number of recruitment agencies that were founded in 2015, with the sharpest rise coming in the six months after the Brexit vote. Our research has shown that the momentum not only continued into 2017, it gathered pace.“The dramatic rise in new agencies being started over the last year is testament to the overwhelmingly positive mood within the recruitment industry.”Ambitious recruiters are not only seeing an increase in demand for the services of recruitment agencies, they’re taking advantage of favourable market conditions and the opportunity this presents for aspiring recruitment entrepreneurs.”

So… What Does This Mean For Your Firm?Growth in the recruitment industry is a double-edged sword. Growth can be seen as a positive sign, an indicator of confidence and growth in the economy and a rising demand for recruiting services. It can be an opportunity for you to consolidate your business and potentially grow it in a significant and sustainable way. However, there are downsides. With more and more agencies being created, it creates more competition and could lead to the market becoming saturated, with agency numbers outstripping the growth in underlying demand. If there’s a sudden downturn in the economy, it could lead many agencies, especially those newer ones, exposed and struggling to survive. There’s also the question of the perception of the industry as a whole. Whenever we see a spurt in the growth of recruitment agency numbers, there’s always a number of these that are started by people with very little experience who see recruitment as an easy way to make money. Compared to many other industries, recruitment is not regulated and anyone can call themselves a recruiter and can be up and running with a computer, phone and access to the internet. According to an article in Recruitment International, in the UK, 8 out of 10 companies fail in the first year, leaving behind a trail of disappointed clients and candidates, many of whom will have a negative view of the industry.

Why You Should Never Miss the Opportunity to GrowDespite the downsides of the growth in the number of recruitment agencies, the underlying causes can be used as a catalyst for the growth of your recruitment firm. The fact that there is confidence in the economy and an increasing demand for recruitment services cannot be passed-up. None of us can predict the future and we may not see such a fertile opportunity for growth for some time. We live in an increasingly uncertain world, and if economic conditions worsen, you may regret not taking the opportunity to grow your business when you had the chance.

How Are You Going to Do It?Firstly, you’re going to need to keep on delivering outstanding results for your clients and giving your candidates a first-class candidate experience. You’re also going to use your sales skills to bring on new clients and ensure you always have a strong sales pipeline. Secondly, you’re going to have to invest in technology to keep up with what your competitors are doing, not too mention what internal recruiters are doing. Remember, your biggest competition isn’t other agency recruiters, it’s your clients recruiting for themselves! But the latest technology, even when combined with strong selling and recruiting skills, is no longer sufficient to guarantee success and growth in an increasingly competitive market.

What’s the Solution?Having worked with hundreds of recruitment company owners, including many of the fastest growing firms in the UK and Europe, I’ve identified 80+ strategies and success factors for out-performing the competition, increasing net fee income and growing your recruitment company in a sustainable way. Here are just 3 key areas to think about:

1. SpecializeFocus on a key market. By doing this, you have a realistic chance of becoming the market leader, a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Why compete against the whole market when you can compete against just a fraction of those 35,000 recruitment agencies?2. Be DifferentIt’s not just important to be better than your competitors, it’s crucial that you are different. You need to create a strong value proposition which is truly unique, so clients can perceive a real, tangible advantage of using your firm over their current suppliers.

3. Become a Niche Market ExpertYour goal is to become a recognized authority; to build your personal brand and position yourself and your firm as the experts in your chosen market niche. I can guide you on how to achieve this through thought leadership, content marketing and effective use of email and social media.If You’re Not Growing, Then You’re DyingRemember if you’re standing still, or making only modest gains, then you’re actually losing ground and falling behind compared to the overall market. If you’re not taking full advantage of market conditions to accelerate your business growth, either in terms of headcount or net fee income (or both!) then what are you waiting for? To discuss any of the 3 strategies outlined in this article and how to kick your business growth into high gear, then get in touch today.

About the Author


Mark Whitby is one of the world's leading coaches for the recruitment industry. Since 2001, he has trained over 10,000 recruiters in 34 countries. Mark has helped recruiters to double or triple their billings and owners to increase their team's sales by 67% in 90 days.

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