Monday 14 January 2019 5:31 pm

Shares in recruitment firm Page Group drop amid macroeconomic uncertainty despite record profits

Recruitment firm Page Group saw its shares fall by seven per cent today after it said in its annual results statement that Brexit uncertainty has affected the job market. 

The FTSE 250 recruiter said that while it had increased its number of fee-earning staff by 561 in the first three quarters of 2018, this slowed to just 58 in the final three months of the year. 

Read more: Page Group profits up but Brexit takes its toll

"Whilst additions in Q4 are normally lower, we are also mindful of the heightened geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty, which has the potential to impact client and candidate confidence,” said Steve Ingham, chief executive officer. 

The fall in the share price came despite the announcement that gross profits increased by 16 per cent to a record £815m for the year to 31 December, with the firm delivering record profits in 23 countries.

However, full-year profits in the UK division, which makes up almost one-fifth of the group, fell by 1.7 per cent to £138m. 

Gross profit in the UK grew by 2.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2018 compared with the same period the year before. Growth was much stronger elsewhere, including in Germany (28 per cent), France (10 per cent) and the US (32 per cent). 

Read more: Page Group posts strong profit growth worldwide – but UK business falters

The fastest growing sector for the firm – posting 25 per cent growth – was its professional services offering, which includes legal, technology and secretarial recruitment. Growth was slowest in marketing, sales and retail. 

The firm said that it expected full-year operating profit to be in line with consensus at around £141m.