Tuesday 10 January 2017 10:15 am

Robert Walters says it's back to business as usual in 2017 after post-Brexit slowdown

UK businesses are "bored" of Brexit and ready to get back to business as usual in 2017, according to the boss of one of the country's largest recruitment firms.

Robert Walters, the chief executive of the eponymous recruitment giant, said while Brexit stymied hiring in the second half of 2016, British firms are now eager to grow operations despite uncertainty.


"The Brexit factor has caused a certain degree of inertia on both the hirers and the hirees," Walters told City A.M..

It [the inertia] will hang around for a bit. But you know what, people do get bored with these things.

They wake up in the morning and they think: ‘You know what, I want to build my business, I want to grow, I’m going to hire.' 

And yes, it will be uncertain for while but I think it will be a lot more positive next year than it has been for the last six months of last year.

Read more: UK jobs rebuffed Brexit woes in July

The comments come as the headhunter revealed figures showing group net fee income grew 11 per cent in constant currency terms to £76.1m in 2016.

“Overall, as the numbers indicate, we’re doing ok really," said Walters and added there remained a wealth of people ready to move from one job to another:

If you don’t like your boss, or your boss has changed and you don’t get on, or your salary increase wasn’t what you expected, then you are going to move jobs.

Currency boost

British operations generated £23.1m of net income during the year, up 16 per cent.

Around 70 per cent of the firm's net fee income was generated outside the UK, with new offices opening in Canada and Portugal as well as a second office in Malaysia.

Read more: Robert Walters hikes dividend as profits prosper

The exposure to overseas markets meant foreign currency movements gave the firm a boost as group net incomes were up 28 per cent on an unadjusted basis.

In the Asia Pacific region, where Robert Walters's net income grew by 30 per cent, but only three per cent in constant currency terms, Vietnam and Korea performed well. China, however, remained a "challenging" market to break for the firm, which was set up in 1985.

Continental Europe net incomes were up 38 per cent to £17.2m, an increase of 15 per cent in constant currency terms.

Shares in the firm rose two per cent in morning trading following the results announcement.