This paper, written by Debbie Budlender, presents the findings of a study into the work of private employment agencies in South Africa, focusing on empirical and statistical aspects. The study covers the temporary agency work industry (known as “labour broking” in South Africa) as well as the recruitment and placement of individuals in permanent or temporary employment. It draws attention to the shortcomings regarding data on agency work in South Africa, and provides some reflections on how knowledge on this topic could be improved. It is one of several research studies prepared in 2013 for SECTOR on the impact of the Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997 (No. 181); the framework for operation of private employment agencies; employment conditions; and treatment as regards such issues as pay, social protection, leave and pensions in selected countries, providing sectoral information as appropriate.