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Robert Walters posts record H1 profit amid 'war for talent'

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Tuesday 27 Jul 2021

Robert Walters posts record H1 profit amid 'war for talent'

(Sharecast News) - Recruiter Robert Walters posted record first-half profits on Tuesday as it pointed to a "global war for talent", driven by acute shortages of professionals across almost all disciplines due to the Covid-19 crisis.
In the six months to 30 June, pre-tax profit surged 414% from the same period a year prior to £22.1m. The company said shortages were "uniquely acute" during the period "due to the restrictions on talent mobility caused by the pandemic". It also said that significant wage inflation is emerging across a number of markets as organisations battle to both attract and retain talent.

Revenue during the six-month period fell 6% to £468.2m.

The company said activity levels were highest across permanent and interim recruitment "as is typical during periods when both candidate and client confidence are growing". Permanent recruitment now represents 67% of the group's net fee income, up from 62% a year earlier.

Recruitment activity levels accelerated markedly, it said, with all regions delivering significant increases in both net fee income and operating profit during the second quarter.

In terms of geographies, the rebound was strongest across the Asia Pacific business, where net fee income rose by 15% year-on-year. Asia Pacific now represents 45% of group net fee income, versus 40% in 2020.

Chief executive officer Robert Walters said demand for talent had outstripped supply across many markets and disciplines.

"A war for talent and significant wage inflation is beginning to emerge," he said.

He added: "Trading is comfortably ahead of current market expectations for the full year, and we enter the second half of the year with cautious optimism and confidence that we will continue to take advantage of market opportunities as they arise."

At 1300 BST, the shares were 1.6% firmer at 726.0p.

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