FINANCIALS: PageGroup announces 20% fall in UK profits

Falling candidate and client confidence contributed to a nearly 20% drop in gross profits (GP) for PageGroup’s UK operations in Q4 of its 2023 financial year.

According to a trading update announced by the recruitment giant today [15 January 2024], the drop to £28.6m in Q4 from £35.7m in Q4 2022 reflected a 23% fall in its Michael Page brand GP and 15% in Page Personnel. 

The fall in UK profits “broadly” followed the trend of Q3 2023, and “we continued to see clients deferring hiring decisions and candidates increasingly cautious about accepting offers”, the company said in its report. UK fee earner headcount was also reduced in Q4 to 1,164 at 31 December 2023, down by 50 from 30 September 2023 and is now 20% lower than Q4 2022, the company said. 

Group-wide, GP fell by 8.9% to £237.3m from 2022, with North America’s GP falling by 24%, also “broadly in line” with Q3, the company said. 

Across the group and its regions, star players were India, with GP up by 16%, and Brazil GP increasing by 20%. Brazil’s performance led to an 18% increase in GP for Latin America overall, in spite of a 6% GP drop in Mexico and faced with political and macro-economic uncertainty across the region. The company also attributed the growth in Latin America’s GP to hyperinflation in Argentina following a recent election. 

“Excluding this, the growth rate was 11%... Elsewhere in Latin America, the remaining countries grew 22% collectively,” the company said.

Across the group, fee earner headcount went down by 224, or 3.7%, during Q4, with reductions made across all regions. “Our non-operations headcount fell by 57 in Q4, in line with the reduction in fee earner headcount,” the company said. “Overall, the group had 5,851 fee earners and a total headcount of 7,859.”

The group will issue its full-year results on 7 March 2024.

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