Robert Walters further exemplifies recruitment sector growth

<p>The steady return to health in the UK job market was further evidenced today (Monday 3rd March), as professional recruitment firm, Robert Walters, updated the […]</p>

The steady return to health in the UK job market was further evidenced today (Monday 3rd March), as professional recruitment firm, Robert Walters, updated the market with its results for year-ending December 2013.

The UK-based company reported a 5% increase in overall revenue at £598m and a 30% rise in pre-tax profit at £10m.

Encouraging signs in the UK

On a regional level, strong conditions in the UK were apparent, with the company’s UK revenue increasing some 22% at £236m and pre-tax profit of £2.5mn – up from around £400k in 2012.

Robert Walters’ international (encompassing South Africa, the US, Brazil and the Middle East) and European businesses also saw decent growth; while Asia Pacific was dragged down predominantly by Australia.

Robert Walters’ results echo those of its rival

Robert Walters’ much larger competitor, Hays, announced half-year results last week. The company reported improving conditions in certain markets, including the UK and Europe, and similarly cited tough conditions in Australia.

Indeed, signs point towards something of a recovery in the sector, and valuations are doing the same.

Robert Walters, for instance, has seen its share price continue to rise over the last year – now trading at some 68% above its 52-week low. That’s similar to peaks reached in 2010.

Other players also appear to be on a similar trend. For example, Michael Page – which reports full-year results on Wednesday – is currently trading around 40% above its 52-week low (though still around 10% below 2010’s recovery levels).

Is that to say, then, that fears of technology’s impact on the sector may have been overstated?

Well, that’s seemingly the case, if recent news flow is anything to go by.

The potential impact of online professional network, LinkedIn, on the recruitment industry has certainly been widely discussed.

As its popularity grows and it continues to add additional features, LinkedIn may well pose a notable threat to recruitment firms in the long run.

But for now, with the economy slowly on the mend and hiring picking up, demand for the added value that recruitment companies bring to the table looks to remain firmly intact.

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