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Recruiter Page Group’s UK profits fall again as Brexit uncertainty bites

The decline in profit in its UK business has been blamed on lethargy in the market as firms put off decision making

In the third quarter of this year, FTSE 250 recruitment company, Page Group, reported a 7.6 per cent drop in gross profit to £34.9m in the UK – its biggest market. That was a sharper fall than the 4.5 per cent slide it reported a quarter earlier.

“Brexit and political uncertainty continuing to impact confidence, particularly amongst our multi-national clients and the more senior permanent candidates,” the company said. Its business placing permanent candidates was down 10 per cent, while its temporary business was only down 2 per cent.

Chief Executive of Page, Steve Ingham, said that although the jobs and candidates were still presenting themselves, placing people into suitable roles was proving more difficult.

“If you’ve got concerns in the market and you throw in the month of August, which is always quiet, then it’s easy to be lethargic about making decisions,” he said.

“People are concerned about what Brexit means and political stability at the moment.”

Skilled jobs in the property and construction sector had been the most active in recent months.

At a group level, Page reported an 11.8 per cent increase in gross profit across all its regions to £177.3m in the three months to September 30, up from £158.6m a year earlier.

Page Group is confident however that they are on track to meet their full-year operating profit expectations, which are around £113m, according to a company-compiled consensus.

The majority of UK recruitment companies are relying on overseas operations for company growth as uncertainty following the June 2016 Brexit vote to leave the European Union waysides domestic demand.

However, Robert Walters said last week that its annual profits would be ahead of expectations – its UK recruitment business was reported to be growing in line with its other markets, such as Asia.

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