Hiring via Zoom helps recruitment firm PageGroup rake in record profits as a shortage of staff continues to blight certain sectors
- Group’s gross profit increased by 55% to £246.8m in the fourth quarter
- Bosses said hiring via video conferencing was speeding up the process
- Robert Walters said it had been placing NQ lawyers on salaries of £150k
Recruitment firm PageGroup saw its profits surge in the last few months of 2021, as the number of interviews conducted via Zoom or other video conferencing platforms increased rapidly and sped up the hiring process.
The company’s gross profit swelled by 55 per cent to £246.8million in the fourth quarter, with record performances in 17 countries.
This helped lift PageGroup to a record quarter as a whole, capping off a record year.
Surging: PageGroup saw its profits surge in the last few months of 2021
Today marked the fourth time the London-listed group has upped its profit outlook in the past seven months.
Amid a buoyant hiring market, the company’s overall gross profit for the year climbed to £879.1million, surpassing its performance in 2019 before the pandemic hit.
The group saw profit growth of over 14 per cent across its UK operations over the period.
Boss Steve Ingham said profits were surging thanks to booming demand for its services and improved productivity.
He said: ‘Productivity is at record levels, up 25 per cent on Q4 2019.
‘This is driven by improved trading conditions, a shorter time to hire facilitated by video interviewing, investments in new systems, wage inflation and improvements in fee rates as a result of the high demand and short supply of candidates.’
But, the group’s top brass said there remained a high degree of economic uncertainty in some of the markets it operated in amid ongoing pandemic-driven restrictions.
Analysts at UBS said: ‘PageGroup will need to continue to invest in hiring headcount over 2022, although we note the mix may change (after >1,000 highly productive ‘experienced hires’ over FY’21, PageGroup only saw c100 in Q4 as competition increases).’
Shares in FTSE 250-listed PageGroup were down 0.39 per cent or 2.50p to 631.50p this afternoon.
On Tuesday, professional recruitment firm Robert Walters said it had been placing graduate lawyers at top firms on starting salaries as high as £150,000 amid a shortage of workers.
The legal sector, particularly at the top end of the market, is well known for demanding long hours from its workforce, and burnout remains a common problem.
Alan Bannatyne, chief financial officer at Robert Walters, told the BBC that people in many UK sectors were quitting for better paid jobs amid soaring demand.
He said: ’15 per cent is the minimum pay rise we’re seeing, but some are increasing their salaries by up to 50 per cent.
‘Unless something significant happens, 2022 should be even better for staff.’
UK job vacancies have hit record levels since the economy reopened as employers scramble to meet rocketing demand.