10 March 2023

Results for the year ended 31 December 2022

Cubed structure

The Robert Walters Group today released its full-year results for the year ended 31 December 2022. Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented:

“As published separately today, I have decided that the time is right for me to announce that I will be retiring as Group CEO at the Group’s Annual General Meeting in April this year. It has been an honour and privilege to have led the Group over the last 38 years and to have such a worthy successor in place in Toby, who has been with the Group since joining as a consultant in 1999, is a true testament to the Group’s ability to grow our future leaders from within and is hopefully an inspiration to all our employees across the globe.

“Turning to our results, the Group delivered a record performance in 2022, despite the increasingly uncertain macro-economic backdrop which emerged as the year progressed, with net fee income up 21% and operating profit hitting an all-time high of £58.2m.

“Net fee income grew across all forms of recruitment – permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing and we continued to invest in growing the Group’s global footprint with the opening of our first office in Italy, and new offices in Austin, Berlin and Bilbao.

“The market uncertainty we experienced during the second half of the year has tipped over into the early months of 2023. Whilst it’s too early to tell whether this is a short-lived correction or a more prolonged economic slowdown, we have successfully managed the business through numerous economic cycles and I am confident that the Group’s strong brand, experienced senior management team and diverse breadth of geographies, disciplines and revenue streams ensures we are well positioned to quickly respond to any further deterioration of market confidence or equally to rapidly capitalise on market opportunities as they arise.”

Financial and operational highlights



% change % change (constant currency*)
Revenue £1,099.6m £970.7m 13% 12%
Gross profit (net fee income) £428.2m £353.6m 21% 20%
Operating profit £58.2m  £54.1m 8% 9%
Profit before taxation £55.6m  £50.2m 11% 12%
Basic earnings per share 56.2p  46.3p 21% N/A
Proposed final dividend per share 17.0p  15.0p 13% N/A
* Constant currency is calculated by applying prior year exchange rates to local currency results for the current and prior periods. 


Group highlights 

  • Record Group performance with profit before taxation increasing by 11% (12%*) year-on-year to an all-time high of £55.6m (2021: £50.2m). 
    • Fierce competition for talent and significant wage inflation across all geographies and specialist disciplines during the first half of the year. 
    • The global macro-economic backdrop became increasingly uncertain as the second half of the year progressed resulting in a softening of recruitment activity levels across many of the Group’s markets. The Ukraine conflict, a high inflation and high interest rate environment, significant cutbacks across the global technology market and Covid-enforced lockdowns in Mainland China all had a cumulative effect on market confidence. 
  • Growth across all forms of recruitment – permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing. 
  • Activity levels were strongest across permanent and interim during the first half as organisations were confident to hire for the long-term. Contract recruitment activity increased more significantly during the second half as client and candidate confidence became more muted. 
  • Permanent recruitment represented 70% (2021: 68%) of the Group’s net fee income. 
  • Significant investment in Group headcount and infrastructure during the year: 
    • Headcount increased by 25% to 4,356 (2021: 3,484). Headcount growth slowed during the second half reflecting the tightening market conditions. 
    • First office opened in Italy (Milan). Three new offices opened in existing markets: Austin, Berlin, and Bilbao. 
    • Continued development and roll out of the Group’s new customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 
  • 83% (2021: 81%) of Group net fee income now derived from our international businesses. 
  • Continued focus on ESG:
    • During 2022, we helped over 48,600 people and 13,000 organisations fulfil their unique potential through providing new careers and valued team members. 
    • Finalist for the second successive year at the ESG Reporting Awards. Winner of nine awards across equity, diversity & inclusion, employee engagement and employer brand. 
    • The Group has been offsetting the equivalent of our carbon emissions since 2015 and has committed to a net zero target on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2040. 
    • Joined the UN Global Compact initiative. 
    • Over 1,100 employees were promoted during the year of which 59% were female. 
  • Proposed final dividend of 17.0p per share (2021: 15.0p per share). 
  • In 2022, the Group purchased 2,024,071 shares at an average price of £6.25 for £12.7m through the Group’s Employee Benefit Trust. A further 2,029,880 shares were purchased at an average price of £4.93 for £10.0m and cancelled. 
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of £97.1m as at 31 December 2022 (31 December 2021: £126.6m). 
  • As per a separate announcement made today, Robert Walters to retire as Group CEO and to be succeeded by Toby Fowlston.  

Regional highlights

  • Asia Pacific net fee income up 18% (16%*) to £193.8m (£191.2m*) (2021: £164.2m) and operating profit increased by 3% (3%*) to £37.5m (£37.6m*) (2021: £36.5m). 
  • Europe net fee income up 30% (31%*) to £124.1m (£124.7m*) (2021: £95.3m) and operating profit increased by 29% (31%*) to £17.6m (£17.9m*) (2021: £13.7m). 
  • UK net fee income up 8% to £74.0m (2021: £68.7m) and operating profit increased by 1% to £3.4m (2021: £3.3m). 
  • Other International (the Americas, South Africa and the Middle East) net fee income was up 43% (29%*) to £36.3m (£32.9m*) (2021: £25.4m) delivering an operating loss of £0.3m (operating loss of £0.1m*) (2021: operating profit of £0.6m). 

The Company will publish a trading update for the first quarter ending 31 March 2023 on 6 April 2023.  


Further information

Robert Walters plc                           +44 (0) 20 7379 3333
Robert Walters, Chief Executive
Alan Bannatyne, Chief Financial Officer

Williams Nicolson                             
Steffan Williams                               +44 7767 345 563  
Claire Foster                                    +44 7525 665 504                  


About Robert Walters Group

The Robert Walters Group is a market-leading international specialist professional recruitment group. With over 4,300 staff spanning 31 countries, we deliver specialist recruitment consultancy, staffing, recruitment process outsourcing and managed services across the globe. We match highly skilled professionals to permanent, contract and interim roles across the disciplines of accountancy & finance, banking, engineering, HR, healthcare, technology, legal, sales, marketing, secretarial & support, and supply chain, logistics & procurement. Our client base ranges from the world’s leading blue-chip corporates and financial services organisations through to SMEs and start-ups.  


Forward-looking statements

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements. These statements are made by the Directors in good faith based on the information available to them at the time of their approval of this announcement and such statements should be treated with caution due to the inherent uncertainties, including both economic and business risk factors, underlying any such forward-looking information.