- Reuters / Eddie Keogh
- Demand for recruitment services in the UK is dropping sharply as much of the world enjoys a white-collar jobs boom.
- Recruitment firm PageGroup said it had a record 2017 globally but saw gross profit in the UK shrink by 3.8%.
- UK hiring slowed at big recruiters including PageGroup in the wake of the Brexit vote.
LONDON – Demand for recruitment services in the UK is dropping sharply as much of the world enjoys a white-collar jobs boom, further evidence that Brexit is weighing heavily on British business confidence.
Recruitment firm PageGroup, which finds candidates for permanent roles, said in a full-year trading update on Monday that it had a record 2017 globally, with gross profit up 14.6% compared to 2016, and 22 countries posting record gross profits.
The firm said gross profit in the UK shrank by 2.8%, while other areas grew at double digit rates. France increased by 28%, Germany was up 14% and profit generated in China increased by 15%.
Chief executive Steve Ingham did not cite Brexit explicitly, but said “ongoing uncertainty” and had damaged confidence “particularly among some of our multinational clients and more senior permanent candidates.”
PageGroup’s results come the day after figures showed Eurozone unemployment reached 8.7%, a 9-year low according to figures released on Tuesday. UK unemployment rose in December for the second consecutive month, although it remains at a historic low of 4.3%, well below many forecasts made after the UK voted to leave the EU.
“Looking forward, we remain cautious in several markets as we enter 2018: primarily in the UK, where we will continue to focus on protecting margins whilst investing in structural opportunities,” Ingham said.
“However, we will continue to invest in our Large High Potential Markets, as well as in markets with favourable trading conditions, both existing and new markets, such as India and the Nikkei market in Japan.”