Strong UK jobs market helps Robert Walters end 2017 on a high
The firm posted a 22% surge in net fee income – or gross profit – in constant currencies for the final three months of 2017.
Recruitment firm Robert Walters has notched up another record quarterly performance, helped by the UK’s resilient jobs market in the face of Brexit uncertainty.
The firm posted a 22% surge in net fee income – or gross profit – in constant currencies for the final three months of 2017, helping it secure a 20% rise overall for the year.
UK net fee income leaped 13% higher to £26.2 million as the firm continues to bounce back following a collapse in financial services recruitment after last year’s EU referendum.
It marks a slight slowdown on the 15% hike in UK net fees reported for the previous three months as it came up against tougher comparisons from a year earlier.
But Robert Walters, which makes 70% of its gross profit outside Britain, said trading was “comfortably” in line with recent upgraded profit forecasts.
The group has upped its earnings outlook three times since last July, most recently in December, which has pushed its shares to record highs.
Its shares slipped 2% after its latest trading update, having risen strongly in recent weeks.
Chief executive Robert Walters said: “Growth was once again broad based across permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing across the group’s geographic regions.”
Robert Walters has seen resurgent performance in the recruitment sector in the UK, while rivals such as PageGroup were hit harder by the post-Brexit uncertainty as firms froze hiring and employees put job hunting on hold.
In the UK, Robert Walters said activity in the fourth quarter was boosted by an “impressive” performance from its human resources outsourcing division, while it said activity was highest across financial services, commerce finance, legal and technology.
The UK comprises almost a third of Robert Walters’s total income.
In the regions, it said Milton Keynes, St Albans and Manchester delivered the strongest performances.
Overseas, Europe saw an “outstanding” result as net fee income across the region rose 28% on a constant currency basis.
Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium all delivered net fee income increases of more than 25% year-on-year, it said.
Net fee income rose 12% across a particularly strong performance in North America helped see a 108% jump across its other international division.