City jobs mogul Robert Walters tells Chris Papadopoullos why the future is bright
Wages are a hotter-than-usual topic these days – at least as far as economists are concerned. The rate at which our pay goes up (or fails to) is said to hold the key as to whether the Bank of England finally hikes interest rates.
Robert Walters, chief executive of the eponymous recruitment firm, expects real-term pay to rise next year – at least in financial services, where a shortage of skills may push up wages.
“It takes three years to grow a lawyer. It takes three years to grow an accountant. All the accounting firms and law firms weren’t hiring graduates and weren’t training people. Surprise, surprise there aren’t any,” Walters said yesterday.
And if you’re a banker? Even better, according to the jobs guru. The albeit-unpopular sector is set to go from strength to strength. “If you look at the sectors, banking is the standout feature,” Walters added.
“All around the world. We mentioned London in our results statement, but it’s also [looking very strong] in south east Asia and the US.”
Walters’ professional recruitment company, which boasts offices in 24 countries, posted a successful set of financial results yesterday, saying that it expected full-year pre-tax profit to be ahead of expectations.
And even the threat of contagion from a troubled Eurozone does not worry Walters.
“We don’t align ourselves that conveniently to macro trends. Even in the dire days of the Lehman Brothers decline, what happens? They want to hire more regulators and lawyers,” he adds, echoing trends seen in the City in the post-crisis years during which the number of compliance roles has blossomed.” he said.
“And if you look at geographical segmentation, it’s no surprise that France is a difficult market, but we’re doing well in the temp contract business there as people are reluctant to hire permanent staff because of the draconian employment law,” says the opinionated boss, who admits to having “very strong views on politics”.
Global troubles may be at the forefront of investors’ minds at the moment, but Walters is one business leader confident of riding any waves that may come his company’s way.
ROBERT WALTERS’ RESULTS AT A GLANCE
■ Gross profit growth of 10 per cent.
■ Two years of consecutive quarter-on-quarter gross profit growth.
■ UK business continues to perform strongly with gross profit up 21 per cent.
■ Improving performance across Europe with gross profit up five per cent.
■ Strong balance sheet with net cash of £8.0m as of 30 September 2014.
■ Group Headcount of 2,580
■ Gross profit £56.8m in Q3 2014.