top of page

The trusted voice of the recruitment industry in an uncertain political and economic climate. 

How the REC began:


Following the 'Great Depression', placing workers into employment became not just a government priority, but a UK necessity.

After embryonic growth, by 1930 market place, legislative and economic factor led to the birth of a group of like-minded, dedicated group employment agencies to come together, and form the first recognised recruitment industry trade body, namely LEAF – the London Employment Agencies Federation. This is the heritage of the REC.

  • The idea behind LEAF was recruiters coming together, helping to get people into work and helping safeguard the labour market.

  • LEAF took an oak leaf as its emblem

  • Gradually LEAF extended membership beyond London and the organisation changed its name to EAF – Employment Agencies Federation – when it became a national organisation. 


In 1960 the EAF appointed Major Donald Cropper as their first General-Secretary. He established regional activities and started campaigning on behalf of the industry.


In 1972 the Federation incorporated as the Federation of Personnel Services of Great Britain.


In 1984 the Federation changed its name to the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services (FRES).


The recruitment industry experienced rapid growth in the 1990s-2000s – turnover increased from £3bn in 1993 to £27bn in 2007-8 before the recession hit in 2008. The membership of the FRES dramatically increased around this time as well.




In 1963 the Institute of Employment Consultants (IEC) was established as ‘a voluntary association of individuals from the employment consultancy profession’


Its purpose was to enhance the knowledge, skills and reputation of its members – it gained charitable status for the purposes of education.


Becoming the REC:


Increasing co-operation between the FRES and the IEC led to a merger in 2000 and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation – the REC – was born. At this time the UK recruitment industry was worth £24bn.


The REC is the largest trade body within the recruitment industry


Some of the REC's key activities and key offerings for members are:


  • Lobbying and meeting government

  • Campaigning

  • Business training

  • Free legal advice to members

  • All members must abide by the Code of Practice


In 2008 Kevin Green became CEO. During his tenure, Kevin and his senior team of Directors have launched a number of key initiative, which have helped cement the resilience of the industry, at home, in Europe, globally. 


In particular, 2009 saw the REC launch the Institute of Recruitment Professionals, the professional body for recruiters with a heritage spanning nearly a century.


  • Membership of the IRP is designed to show the professionalism of the individual recruiter

  • The IRP provides qualifications and a career pathway to individual recruitment consultants

  • IRP members have to abide by a Code of Ethics

  • The annual IRP awards, recognising outstanding individuals in the recruitment industry, started in 2009. Find out more


In 2009 the REC held its first major conference and in 2012 the REC hosted the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT) World Employment Conference in London.


In 2012 the REC won the Trade Association Forum award for Best Trade Association and Kevin Green won the award for Best Leader 2012.


In 2013 the REC launched an Apprenticeships scheme within the recruitment industry. 


bottom of page