British recruiters signal pick-up in hiring as pandemic curbs ease

A person looks at the adverts in the window of a job agency in London, Britain October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) – British recruiters PageGroup and Robert Walters Plc reported jumps in quarterly profit on Wednesday, clearest signs yet of a recovery in a sector hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Both flagged increased hiring in their key markets, especially in June, and raised their forecasts for annual profit.

Recruiters around the globe were hammered last year as the pandemic-driven financial crisis forced most firms to halt new hiring. However, a ramp-up in vaccinations and the re-opening of some economies have encouraged most companies to resume recruiting.

“Strength of our performance in H1, and notably in June, has further increased confidence in our outlook for the year,” PageGroup Chief Executive Officer Steve Ingham said in a statement.

PageGroup, which helps hire executives, professionals and clerical staff in various sectors, said it now expects operating profit to come in between 125 million pounds ($172.53 million) and 135 million pounds.

The company reported a 2% rise in second-quarter gross profit compared with the same period in 2019, while Robert Walters posted its first profit rise in a year and raised its annual earnings forecast.

($1 = 0.7243 pounds)

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