Headhunter Robert Walters sees his income jump 18%

Professional recruiter Robert Walters saw his profits soar in the third quarter, thanks to continued strength in the hyper-competitive global job market.

The London-listed company saw net fee and commission income jump 26% year-on-year to £112m in the three months to September 30 as it delivered growth across all forms of head hunting.

Having already delivered a better-than-expected performance in the second quarter, the company now expects full-year earnings to be “in line” with current market expectations.

The professional recruiter saw profits soar in the third quarter as the hyper-competitive global job market kept the recruiter on track with the annual forecast

Robert Walters shares rose more than 5% to 515.30p around 9am Tuesday morning after the release of its dynamic results.

He also announced that Leslie Van de Walle, currently a non-executive director of HSBC, has been named non-executive chairman and will join the board on November 1.

Van de Walle said: “I am delighted to rejoin the Robert Walters Group as Chairman.

“I really enjoyed working with the board and management team during my previous time with the group and I can’t wait to get started. The recruiting industry is so dynamic and fast-paced and working with one of the industry standard bearers again is a real privilege.

Widespread labor shortages, combined with a high level of voluntary quits and rising wages, have led to a rush to hire new talent and provided a financial boon to the recruitment industry.

Commerce has received a further boost from the shift to hybrid working, with Robert Walters observing earlier this year that companies were becoming increasingly “location independent” and dependent on virtual platforms to decide who to employ.

He noted that demand for full-time positions was particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region with fee income up 16% to £53.6m from £44.4m in 2021 .

Managing Director and Founder Robert Walters said:

Managing Director and Founder, Robert Walters, said: “The more volatile political and economic environment in the UK has impacted local market confidence, causing UK net commission income to decline by a year to year”

At constant exchange rates, fee income doubled in Taiwan, increased by more than half in Indonesia and increased by 20% and 11% respectively in its two main Asian markets, Japan and Australia.

In Japan and Australia, net commission income increased by 23% and 16% respectively.

Elsewhere in the region, the highest growth rates in net commission income came from Taiwan (up 46%), Indonesia (up 45%), Thailand (up 32%) and New Zealand (up 29%).

Meanwhile, net commission income in mainland China was down 25% year-on-year as “market conditions were impacted by the recent strict Covid lockdowns”.

In the UK, net profit fell 6% year-on-year to £17.6m, from £18.7m in 2021, which was blamed on “tougher market conditions in technology recruitment and resource solutions”.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive and Founder Robert Walters said: “The macroeconomic backdrop became more uncertain as the quarter progressed.

“Nevertheless, job flow remained broadly buoyant, applicant shortages remained acute, wage inflation continued to rise; and the Group’s net commissions increased by 18% year-on-year.

“84% of the Group’s net commissions are now generated by our international activities. Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Group’s largest regions, continued to deliver good growth and it is also encouraging to see our smaller businesses across the Americas and the Middle East delivering strong results.

“The more volatile political and economic backdrop in the UK impacted local market confidence, resulting in lower UK net commission income year-on-year.

“Earnings for the full year should be in line with current market expectations.”

Founded in 1985, Robert Walters today has more than 3,700 employees in 27 countries.

The firm specializes in the placement of professionals in the disciplines of accounting and finance, banking, engineering, human resources, IT, legal, sales and marketing, chain supply and purchasing.

On January 10, 2023, the Group will publish a trading update for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2022.

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