“Lower levels of confidence” in the market have proved difficult to overcome for specialist recruiter Page Group, which reported a 45 per cent fall in half-year profits this morning.
London-listed Page posted an operating profit of £63.9m for the six months ending 30 June, down 47.5 per cent in constant currencies from £115.3m in the same period last year.
Shares dropped nearly two per cent when the market opened on Monday.
Group gross profit slumped 4.4 per cent in constant currencies against the first half of 2022, mostly driven by the UK and the Asia Pacific regions.
Gross profit for the UK region, which makes up 12 per cent of the group, fell 13.2 per cent in the first half and in Asia Pacific it dropped 17.3 per cent. The recruiter said the declines were due to “tough market conditions”.
EMEA, 55 per cent of Page, was the “standout” region, and the only one to be profitable, with gross profit rising 4.3 per cent year on year.
Chief executive Nicholas Kirk said: “The challenging conditions we saw towards the end of 2022 continued into H1 2023, with lower levels of both candidate and client confidence resulting in delays in decision making and candidates being more reluctant to accept offers.
“Reflecting the uncertain macro-economic conditions, temporary recruitment outperformed permanent, as clients sought more flexible options.”
Page reduced its ‘fee earner headcount’ by eight per cent in the first half, and total headcount is down five per cent on the end of 2022.
“Looking forward, there remains a high level of global macro-economic and political uncertainty in the majority of our markets. However, against this backdrop, we continue to see candidate shortages and good levels of vacancies, as well as continued high fee rates,” added Kirk.