Private Employment Industry keeps Growing and Diversifying

27, March

The 2019 Economic Report of the World Employment Confederation shows that while agency work remains a core activity ...

The 2019 Economic Report of the World Employment Confederation shows that while agency work remains a core activity within the private employment industry, other services gained traction in 2017. Overall, the industry recorded positive growth rates, expanding its footprint worldwide. The evolution is also positive across all regions with countries like Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy and Japan becoming strong performers.

Brussels, 27th March 2019 – In 2017, the private employment industry generated €457 billion in global sales revenue, a 13% year-on-year growth rate. Worldwide, the industry placed 53 million individuals in employment through a network of 165,000 agencies. The number of internal staff working within private employment agencies reached 2.7 million.

“Most indicators from our 2019 Economic Report show positive growth and paint a satisfactory picture of our industry for 2017,” says Denis Pennel, Managing Director of the World Employment Confederation (WEC). “It demonstrates that as the world of work is continually changing, the services provided by private employment agencies are increasingly sought after and contribute to positive labour market outcomes.”

Amongst the five main HR services covered by the industry, agency work remains the core activity; creating the majority of revenues and employment relationships. In Europe, the five largest markets (Italy, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Germany) all experienced growth. The USA remains by far the largest market worldwide in terms of sales revenues.

Yet, other services gained traction, with the most significant increase observed in direct recruitment (over 50 percent). The report includes revenue figures for Managed Services Providers (MSP), Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Direct Recruitment and Career Management.

The Economic Report also dives into the main geographical areas covered by the World Employment Confederation. The trends observed are also positive with countries including Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy and Japan becoming strong performers.

“Our Economic Report is primarily based on a data collection exercise that we conduct annually with the members of the World Employment Confederation,” explains Even Hagelien, Chairman of the WEC’s Economic Affairs Committee. “We are constantly striving to improve that process and for this 2019 edition, we have updated our methodology to deliver a more accurate picture of our industry. We also work with external partners such as Staffing Industry Analysts and Everest Group to ensure the most complete assessment of the different HR services.”

The 2019 Economic Report of the World Employment Confederation is available here.


About the World Employment Confederation

The World Employment Confederation is the voice of the employment industry at a global level,
representing labour market enablers from 50 countries as well as seven of the largest international workforce solutions companies. Members of the World Employment Confederation represent a wide
range of HR services, including agency work, direct recruitment, career management, Recruitment
Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Managed Services Provider (MSP).

The World Employment Confederation works to broaden recognition of the positive economic and
social role which the employment industry plays in enabling work, adaptation, security and prosperity.
This work involves building networks with relevant stakeholders such as policy makers, social partners
and the academic world; setting high recruitment and employment standards and practices; acting as
a thought-leader shaping futureproof and competitive labour markets and providing strategic data on
employment issues.

For further information, please contact:

Robin Lechtenfeld
Labour Market Intelligence Officer +32 2 421 15 84

Aurélie Pattyn
Communications Manager +32 2 421 15 87