The rise of online recruitment is having a physical impact on the modern high street, with new figures showing a steep decline in the number of recruitment agency offices.

Agency outlets on British high streets were found to have declined by 13.4 per cent in the two years between October 2008 and December 2010. The numbers were gathered in research by mapping service, Ordnance Survey (OS) in a survey of more than 27 million commercial addresses across the UK.

Recruitment agencies were found to have suffered one of the steepest rates of closing, placing second only to building societies, which saw 28.2 per cent of all their premises closing during the two years that were analysed.

Geoff Newman, chief executive of the UK’s largest online recruitment agency Recruitment Genius once ran a traditional high street agency before moving online. “Times have changed and so must agencies” he said “now I can offer recruitment for hundreds of pounds rather thank thousands and business is booming. But it certainly isn’t cheaper as you still have high operating costs, but now we reach a wider audience.”

The closing of the physical recruitment agencies is a result, however, of the recruitment process becoming an easy task to carry out online. The hard copy CVs that candidates would have to take in to an office when they were looking for a job can now be much more easily analysed by recruitment consultants when they are in an electronic format.

Other businesses that experienced a steep decline in numbers included estate agents, which fell by 9.3 per cent, and pubs and bars, which fell by 4.7 per cent. The only businesses that saw the number of high street branches increase were bookmakers and betting shops. The number of these outlets rose by five per cent over the two years.

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