Turnover in the UKs recruitment industry hit a record high of more than £27 billion between April 2007 and March 2008, according to the latest annual industry report launched today (Friday, November 7). The most significant growth was achieved through a sharp increase in the turnover from permanent placements from £3.514 billion to £4.276 billion, a rise of 21.7 per cent. This is despite the number of permanent placements falling from 787,280 to 726,863, suggesting that employers are willing to pay more for the right candidate. The Recruitment and Employment Confederations Annual Industry Turnover and Key Volumes Survey 2007/08, is published in association with the Recruitment Finance Division of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance and Recruitment Consultant magazine. Commenting on the results, Kevin Green, the RECs Chief Executive, said:The huge growth in permanent recruitment turnover shows that employers are willing to pay more for the right candidate. This remains the case even in the changing employment climate. The downturn is really putting the skills of professional recruiters to the test but at the same time, this is giving them a real opportunity to shine and show employers what they are really made of. As we enter a significant economic downturn, it is vital that the recruitment industry retains its ability to help the economy bounce back from the bottom of the cycle which will in turn enable early recovery. Within this context, we must ensure that new legislation such as the EU Agency Workers Directive and the taxation of recruitment services are implemented and reviewed in a way that does not add further barriers. Paul Saunders, Director of the Recruitment Finance Division of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance, said: Whilst the results of the survey are broadly positive, recruiters will be feeling cautious now that the impact of the economic turbulence is being felt across the industry. â€œThe recruitment industry plays a crucial role in the economic success of the UK by ensuring the efficient delivery of human resources where they are most needed – in both good times and bad. Currently, some niche players are faring particularly well, for example those providing risk management specialists to the financial sector, while good opportunities for consolidation are emerging in most occupational sectors. The year ahead is likely to test companies, with flexibility and control of cash the key factors in achieving success. The best managed agencies are dealing with the current challenges by converting fixed overheads into variables (for example, outsourcing non-core functions), cutting costs that can no longer be justified, mitigating risk by insuring against bad debts and avoiding over-dependence on particular customers. Such agencies will be well-positioned to come through the present difficulties ahead of their competitors and take full advantage of the upturn when it occurs.” The number of temporary / contract workers declined over the period from 1,377,310 to 1,220,310 and a reduction of 1.8 per cent with a corresponding fall in turnover. The shift was felt most acutely by single site agencies which make up the bulk of the industry. The most significant growth was achieved through a sharp increase in the turnover from permanent placements from £3.514 billion to £4.276 billion, a rise of 21.7 per cent. This is despite the number of permanent placements falling from 787,280 to 726,863. Also during the year, the number of staff employed in the recruitment sector rose by 7.5 per cent from 101,286 to 108,883.