Profit at Robert Walters remained subdued in the second quarter as the recruitment firm struggled with global market uncertainty.
In the three months to June, gross profit across the group fell 11 per cent to £99.9m compared to the year before. It said the second quarter of last year was a “record” quarter.
Toby Fowlston, chief executive, said “candidate confidence and time to hire are not yet showing the anticipated signs of sustained improvement.”
The UK recorded a 21 per cent fall with Robert Walters noting the market is hamstrung by high inflation and high interest rates. Its fees were hit by volatility in technology and financial services, although legal recruitment remained “relatively robust”.
The US was also hit by the disruption in technology and financial services sector, with fees falling 47 per cent. Both sectors have undergone extensive rounds of job cuts this year.
Elsewhere fees in China slumped 37 per cent with the anticipated bounceback from Covid lockdowns failing to materialise.
Europe recorded a more “resilient performance” with a record performance from Belgium and “solid” performances in the firm’s three largest businesses – France, Netherlands and Spain.
Although the jobs market was still performing below expectations, Fowlston suggested that there would likely be an improvement soon.
“Structural recruitment market fundamentals including job vacancy levels, salary inflation and candidate shortages are still holding strong which continues to suggest that when market confidence recovers there will likely be an increase in demand and candidate movement across all areas of recruitment,” he continued.
Economic uncertainty has impacted the jobs markets and has made employers more cautious about hiring. Employees’ work attitudes have also altered post pandemic with many candidates now looking for more flexibility and hybrid working when choosing a job role.
The firm will publish its half year results at the beginning of August.