Page group Reports Decline in Profit Amid Economic Challenges

April 15, 2024

Pagegroup, a prominent recruitment agency listed on the FTSE 250, has announced a 12.8% decrease in group profit for the first quarter of the year, attributing this decline to businesses delaying hiring activities amid challenging economic conditions. The company’s fee earner headcount has also decreased by 100 compared to the previous year, now standing at 5,751 employees.

Nicholas Kirk, CEO of Pagegroup, addressed the market, highlighting a “slight deterioration in job flow towards the end of the quarter.” He emphasized that the conversion of final interviews into accepted offers remains a significant challenge due to subdued candidate and client sentiment amid macroeconomic uncertainty in various markets.

Permanent recruitment was more significantly affected than temporary placements across all markets, as clients increasingly sought flexible hiring options. Year-on-year earnings were notably down in the UK (19.2% decrease) and Asia (22% decrease), reflecting persistently challenging trading conditions in these regions.

Kirk noted that trading conditions in Asia, the UK, and the US showed no signs of improvement, with low levels of client and candidate confidence prolonging the time to hire, particularly for permanent roles. He explained that clients, operating with tighter recruitment budgets, have become more risk-averse, leading to a slowdown in the recruitment process despite competitive salary levels. Offers made to candidates were not as generous as in previous periods, reflecting the cautious approach adopted by businesses in the current economic climate.

The report underscores the ongoing impact of economic uncertainty on recruitment activities, with businesses prioritizing flexibility and risk mitigation in their hiring strategies amid subdued market conditions.