Summary of our market study

The global recruitment and human resources market is set to grow by a substantial 37% between 2012 and 2021, despite a 7.6% drop during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In France, the recruitment market is predominantly handled by companies' internal HR departments, but recruitment agencies continue to play a crucial role, particularly when it comes to hiring executives.

The executive recruitment market in France faced a 19% drop in 2020 due to the pandemic, but should see an 8% increase in 2021 with 247,000 hires, while remaining 12% below 2019 levels.

Recruitment firms, falling under NAF codes 78.10Z and 70.22Z, have seen their number of establishments and headcount increase, a sign of market expansion.

Large international companies dominate the French market, offering diversified services, including human resources consulting, in addition to traditional recruitment services.

Faced with challenges such as the impact of Covid-19 and the talent shortage, the function of recruitment agencies is evolving, focusing on candidate sourcing and customer acquisition, as well as offering digital services and long-term human resources management.

Typically, recruitment agencies charge a percentage of the recruited person's annual salary, ranging from 15% to 30%.

Regulatory changes, such as the 2005 Borloo law, have opened up competition with temporary employment agencies (ETT) for the recruitment of permanent and fixed-term contracts.

The market must also comply with strict non-discrimination laws during the recruitment process.

Recruitment difficulties have been highlighted by French business leaders, with industrial sectors facing the greatest challenges.

The emergence of specialized firms such as Teaminside, targeting digital job profiles, illustrates the market's adaptation to new candidate profiles and skills requirements.

Trends and dynamics in the executive search sector

In the French recruitment assistance market, we observe a sustained interest in executive positions. The data show that the unemployment rate among executives is significantly lower than that of the general working population. Executive recruitment figures have risen sharply, with hiring increasing from around 220,000 to over 280,000 filled positions.

Île-de-France accounted for more than half of all executive recruitment. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Hauts-de-France regions followed closely behind. Despite the economic slowdown linked to the 2020 health crisis, Brittany not only resisted the downward trend, but also posted an increase in recruitment.

The service sector led the way in executive recruitment, with the overwhelming majority of new hires - over 200,000. Although all sectors experienced a decline during the health crisis, the recovery is strong. Within organizations, IT, sales and marketing, and research and development attract more than half of all executive hires.

Young executives with between one and ten years' experience are the most sought-after. On the other hand, executives with more than twenty years' experience account for a smaller proportion of hires.

Key players in the recruitment market

The recruitment market abounds in a myriad of players

Several major international firms have consolidated their position on the French market.

  • PageGroup: Operates through four distinct brands: Page Executive, Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Outsourcing.
  • Hays: Hays has established a formidable presence in France.
  • Robert Half International: Pioneer in professional recruitment services.
  • Robert Walters is renowned for recruiting talent in all professional fields, from finance to technology.
  • Hudson Global offers recruitment services combined with comprehensive human resources consulting.
  • Korn Ferry world leader in executive search
  • Egon Zehnder: Renowned for its tailor-made approach to executive search
  • Spencer Stuart excels in executive search and development
  • Eric Salmon & Partners: A renowned player
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Detailed content of our market study


  • Number of pages : ~ 40 pages
  • Format : Digital and PDF versions
  • Last update : 23/05/2024
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1. Market overview and definition

The hiring market in France is increasingly dynamic, with 26 million people expected to be recruited by 2023, a number that is rising overall and remaining very stable.

Recruitment support efers to all the services, actions and tools put in place to help companies in their recruitment process. This can include a variety of services and interventions designed to facilitate the search, selection and integration of new employees. While to date in France, the main players in the hiring process are still companies' in-house human resources departments, the recruitment market is becoming increasingly digitalized, and a large proportion of recruiters are using auxiliary means to advertise their vacancies. This study focuses on the main areas of the recruitment support market in France.

This field includes :

  • recruitment agencies
  • job boards or job boards
  • headhunting firms
  • professional social networks such as Linkedin

A recruitment agency is a company whose purpose is to help and support its customers (private companies, the public sector, associations, etc.) in the recruitment (mainly on fixed-term or permanent contracts) of new employees, managers or administrators. to this end, customers delegate all or part of the recruitment process to the recruitment agency: publication of the vacancy, identification of candidates, selection, negotiation, signing of contracts, induction and training of the new employee. Hunting firms offer the same kind of service, but at much higher prices, and promise greater precision in the selection of candidates. They are generally aimed at companies seeking high-level executives, high-potential profiles or specialists in a particular field. In France, these operations primarily concern middle-management profiles. The role of these agencies is particularly important in a context where recruitment is difficult for companies, taking on average three months in 2023 compared to two months in 2020.

The scope of recruitment per se excludeshiring operations aimed at filling positions under temporary employment contracts (temping, temporary employment agencies).

1.2 A growing global recruitment and human resources market

The graph below shows the strong growth of the global recruitment and human resources market. Between **** and ****, the market grew by **%. The only year in which the market declined was ****, during the Covid-** pandemic. In that year, the market declined by *.*%.

In ****, the global recruitment and human resources market is worth ...

1.3 A growing but polarized French market

Recruitment consulting market

The chart below shows sales for the labor placement agency business (***), but will see a decline in **** with the covid-** crisis. By ****, sales in France will be close to *.* billion euros. It will then surpass its pre-pandemic level. **% of recruitment is carried out by specialized agencies. [***]

Sales of ...

1.4 A market impacted by covid-19

Less difficult executive recruitment

In ****, the number of executive recruitments fell by **% compared to ****. Against this backdrop, **% of companies felt that their recruitment processes were easier in **** than in **** (***). However, recruitment difficulties are set to rise again in ****, according to an APEC survey.

Percentage of companies considering that their executive recruitments ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Labor movements and unemployment in France

People looking for work

The graph below shows changes in the unemployment rate in mainland France. Here, the definition of the unemployment rate is based on that of the International Labor Office (***). The unemployment rate, which is the ratio between the number of unemployed and the number of economically active people, ...

2.2 Recruitment processes

In ****, **.** million job vacancies were advertised in France, down slightly on the previous year. According to France Travail, the job market is dominated by so-called "sustainable" hires, with **% of hiring projects in **** involving contracts of more than six months or open-ended contracts, a figure that will fall by ** percentage points in ...

2.3 The dynamics of executive recruitment in France

Recruitment vectors, search times and processes vary greatly depending on the socio-professional category under consideration. It is therefore relevant to segment the labor market, and this section will focus on trends in executive recruitment in France.

However, managers are much less affected by unemployment than other occupational categories, with only *.*% unemployed ...

3 Market structure

3.1. The employment-related activities sector in France

In the case of recruitment agencies, this activity can be classified under two NAF codes:

**.**Z "Activities of employment agencies" **.**Z "Business and other management consultancy services"

Job boards are included in these two NAF codes:

**.**Z "Internet portals **.**Z "Computer programming"

On the other hand, it is of ...

3.2. The main players in the recruitment market

In general, recruitment begins with the publication of an advertisement, followed by the selection of candidates and interview phases, which may include technical or psychological tests. Some positions are also filled by word-of-mouth. There are several channels through which you can recruit a new employee for your company and advertise. Among ...

3.3 New candidate profiles reshape market structure

The emergence of new candidate profiles and new skills is encouraging the emergence and growth of more specialized players.

The example of Teaminside, a firm specializing in digital professions

Teaminside was set up in **** to specialize in digital professions for companies not looking to recruit permanent staff. The firm was thus ...

3.4 Digitizing recruitment and the importance of artificial intelligence

In recent years, recruitment has become increasingly digitalized. In fact, by ****, **% of companies that had digitized their hiring processes said they had gained access to more qualified candidate profiles and had been able to engage with them on a personalized basis. Paper-based job offers have become obsolete, with the majority of ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1. How recruitment agencies work

The challenge for a recruitment agency, when providing services to a client, is to respond as quickly as possible to the client's request, not only to meet the negotiated deadline, but also to be able to allocate its resources to other services. The recruitment process used by recruitment agencies generally consists ...

4.2. Towards diversification

Two different approaches are mainly used to deliver recruitment support services:


The use of advertisements presupposes an exchange between the firm and the customer to define the job description and draft a job offer. The advertisement is then published on job sites (***). It may also be published in the press ...

4.3. Pricing methods used

In general, recruitment agencies are paid a percentage of the recruit's annual salary. This percentage usually varies between **% and **%. It can be as high as **% if the recruitment is carried out by a prestigious consultancy. This cost covers the entire recruitment process, from the client's needs to the final candidate.

In ...

4.4 How job boards work and pricing

Job boards are platforms with a dual interface: on the one hand, they enable candidates to consult job offers and quickly apply to them, and on the other, recruiters to post their advertisements and build up a CV library to consult potential candidates. In this way, job boards build up a ...

5 Regulations

5.1. Consequences of the Borloo law (2005)

Changes in the regulatory framework are crucial to understanding the dynamics of recruitment agency business.

Following the Borloo law in ****, their sector of activity was opened up to competition from ETTs (***)

Temporary employment agencies can now recruit on both permanent and fixed-term contracts, opening up the placement business to the private ...

5.2 Recruitment subject to fairness laws

For any recruitment action, the selection of a candidate must be based solely on criteria linked to the specific needs of the job in question, or to the professional qualities of the person concerned. From reading the CV to the recruitment decision, selection choices must be objective, factual and comply with ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1. Segmentation


Major international players, mainly foreign, well established in France

PageGroup Hays Robert Half International Robert Walters Hudson Global

Small players with an innovative approach

Euromedica(***) Auvial Mosaïk RH Orientation Durable

Competitors in the recruitment support market include :


Korn Ferry, Egon Zehnder International, Spencer Stuart

Smaller players, such as the ...

  • PageGroup (Michael Page)
  • Hays
  • Adecco Group
  • Anywhr
  • CRIT Groupe
  • Ergalis (Actual Groupe)
  • Kelly Services France
  • ManpowerGroup France
  • MeetYourjob
  • Proman
  • Robert Walters
  • Light Consultants
  • Skeelz
  • Start People
  • Supplay
  • Synergie
  • Talent Management Groupe
  • Walters People
  • Slash Interim
  • Iziwork
  • Aladom
  • Scutum
  • Actual Groupe
  • Gojob
  • Mistertemp'group
  • Brigad
  • Hellowork
  • La Varappe
  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Viadeo JDN

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Size of the global recruitment and human resources market
  • Unemployment rate
  • Overall unemployment rate by gender end 2023
  • Unemployment rate by level of qualification and length of time since leaving initial training
  • Number of resignations in 2023 by sector
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Latest news

Human resources: Anywr placed under accelerated safeguard procedure - 19/02/2024
  • Anywr was founded in 2013.
  • The company has raised three rounds of financing since 2015, totaling 127 million euros. 80 million euros were contributed in 2022 by Naxicap Partners.
  • The company has carried out 12 external growths.
  • Anywr has over 900 employees, including 400 in France.
  • Sales total 84 million euros.
Hellowork president dies at 53, mowed down by drunk driver - 22/01/2024
  • Hellowork was founded in 2000 as RegionsJob by Jérôme Armbruster, Guillaume Semblat and Gwenaëlle Quénavon-Hervé.
  • In 2018, the RegionsJob website became HelloWork.
  • Four years later, the company merged with other job boards to become, an online recruitment platform.
  • Today, is a leader in online employment.
  • Hellowork is a subsidiary of the Telegramme group, and specializes in helping professionals, companies and firms to meet their recruitment and human resources challenges, as well as training centers and schools to promote their training offers.
  • The Hellowork team currently numbers 530 employees.
French Tech: Welcome To The Jungle acquires its British competitor - 22/01/2024
  • Welcome To The Jungle has raised 50 million euros (including 4 million in debt).
  • Otta, a British competitor created in 2019, is to be acquired by Welcome To The Jungle.
  • Otta has 1.7 million subscribers spread across Europe (mainly in the UK) and the United States.
  • Welcome To The Jungle counts its 5,500 customers mainly in France.
  • Together, these companies generate annual revenues of 40 million.
  • The company currently has 350 employees.
  • Welcome To The Jungle plans to open an office in the United States this year (2022), originally scheduled for 2023.
  • Jérémy Clédat, co-founder of Welcome To The Jungle, plans to move to the United States by the end of 2024.
  • Welcome To The Jungle expects to break even by the end of 2024.
  • The U.S. market is considered the world's largest in terms of recruitment expenditure.
Sudden death of Jérôme Armbruster, co-founder and Chairman of HelloWork - 20/01/2024
  • Jérôme Armbruster founded his start-up, Ré, in 2000.
  • Ré was renamed HelloWork.
  • HelloWork has become the French leader in online recruitment and career guidance.
  • In 2023, the company's sales topped the 100 million euro mark for the first time.
  • Every year, HelloWork invests between 15 and 20 million euros in the improvement and development of its platforms.
  • The company employs 530 people in Rennes, Bordeaux, Lyon and Lille. HelloWork has completed several acquisitions, including Seekube, Diplomeo and Basile.
French Tech : Brigad forced to lay off 20% of its workforce | Brigad : 20% workforce reduction in French Tech - 19/01/2024
  • Brigad plans to cut 40 positions, representing a 20% reduction in its current workforce of 190.
  • Brigad successfully raised €33 million in early 2023.
  • Mediflash is another platform affected by legal ambiguities. Created in 2020, the majority of its users (70-80%) are unregulated professions, which poses the most problems.
Mistertemp'group acquired by Andera Partners fund - 18/01/2024
  • Mistertemp'group was founded in 2009.
  • The group has 200 branches and a technology platform.
  • Every year, 60,000 people find a job thanks to the company.
  • 2.6 million profiles are registered in its database.
  • The company has 300 employees.
  • Sales have risen from 100 million euros at the end of 2016 to 420 million in 2023.
  • The group forecasts average annual growth of 25%.
  • It plans to open 30 new branches a year.
  • The company already has nine branches in Italy and plans to expand into Germany and Spain.
  • The company's ambition is to achieve sales of one billion euros over the next five years.
  • Andera Partners, the group's investment fund, manages nearly 4 billion euros in assets.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

PageGroup (Michael Page)
Adecco Group
CRIT Groupe
Ergalis (Actual Groupe)
Kelly Services France
ManpowerGroup France
Robert Walters
Light Consultants

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