PageGroup signals slower hiring in some markets, shares fall

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  • H1 operating profit up 79%
  • H1 revenue up about 28%
  • FY operating profit seen in-line with expectation

Aug 8 (Reuters) - PageGroup (PAGE.L) noted a "slight slowing in time to hire" in July across some of its markets as economies deal with high inflation and risks of a slowdown, although the global recruitment firm said on Monday its annual profit would be in line with market expectations.

Shares in the company, which owns brands such as Michael Page and Page Executive and operates in 37 countries, were down about 10%.

Hiring agencies have seen a boom in recent months as employers rushed to fill vacancies left during pandemic-related lockdowns, but high inflation and recession risks pose a threat to their outlook as companies typically slow down their hiring plans during times of economic uncertainties.

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A survey last week showed that British employers slowed their hiring via recruitment agencies by the most in 17 months in July as they worried increasingly about the outlook for the economy. read more

"In July, we noted a slight slowing in time to hire in some of our markets, and we continue to closely monitor our forward-looking KPIs (key performance indicators)," PageGroup Chief Executive Steve Ingham said in a statement.

"However, at this point, our expectations for 2022 full year operating profit remain in line with the company compiled consensus of 206 million pounds," he added.

Wage inflation along with high demand and a short supply of candidates, coupled with shorter hiring time due to video interviewing, has lifted its recruiters' productivity to record levels, PageGroup said.

The London-listed company, which helps hire executives, professionals and clerical staff, said operating profit for the six-months ending June 30 jumped 79.3% to 115.3 million pounds ($139.2 million).

The Weybridge, England-headquartered company, also announced a special dividend of 26.71 pence per share.

($1 = 0.8282 pounds)

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Reporting by Amna Karimi and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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