Recruitment in the technology industry has been hit by global layoffs by big U.S. tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Meta, leading to Robert Walters reporting a fall in net fees in markets such as the U.S. and UK.
Shares in the London-listed recruiter, which specializes in in the legal, accountancy and tech sectors, fell more than 7%.
CEO designate Toby Fowlston said the technology sector was facing a “correction” after a spate of “over-hiring” last year.
“Obviously, in that sector, in particular, that has caused some slowdown,” Fowlston told Reuters.
But employers from other sectors are scooping up those tech professionals who are entering a workforce that over the years has shrunk as people study longer, retire earlier and migrate less, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, Fowlston said.
Fowlston, who will replace Robert Walters’ eponymous founder who is retiring later this month, expects that trend to continue.
The recent banking turmoil and worries about inflation and interest rates have stoked concern about a global economic slowdown and pushed companies to rethink their hiring plans.
“When you go back to … the bigger story around caution, commitment to hire, that’s where temporary, interim hires become very attractive, both to clients and to candidates,” Fowlston said.
Robert Walters’ finance chief Alan Bannatyne said increased regulation of financial services has led to higher demand for roles such as risk officers and chief compliance officers.
Vacancy levels and salary inflation remained relatively robust, the company said.
Robert Walters, which operates in more than 30 countries, said group net fee income was 102.4 million pounds ($127.5 million), flat on constant currency, in the first quarter ended March 31, despite a 44% slump in mainland China due to the lingering impact of COVID-19 disruptions.
($1 = 0.8031 pounds)
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