7 July 2021

Robert Walters Group releases Q2 2021 trading update

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The Robert Walters Group today released its Q2 2021 trading update for the period ended 30 June 2021. 

Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented: “Candidate and client confidence has continued to improve across all of the Group’s regions with net fee income growth for the second quarter accelerating to 31%* year-on-year with activity levels strongest across Asia Pacific and Europe. Group net fee income for the half year was up 8%*. To capitalise on this momentum, we will be investing in additional headcount in those geographies and disciplines showing the strongest signs of sustained growth.

“The Group is benefitting from operational gearing and due to a very strong close to the quarter, I am delighted to say that profit for the full year is expected to be significantly ahead of current market expectations.

“We enter the second half of the year with cautious optimism and confidence that we are very well positioned to continue to take advantage of market opportunities as they arise.”

Financial and operational highlights

Gross profit (Net fee income) Q2 2021

Q2 2020

% change % change (constant currency*)
Group £89.0m £71.1m 25% 31%
Asia Pacific £40.9m £29.4m 39% 48%
Europe £23.4m £19.2m 22% 26%
UK £18.0m £16.5m 9% 9%
Other International £6.7m £6.0m 11% 20%
*Constant currency is calculated by applying prior period average exchange rates to local currency results for the current and prior years.
  • Trading momentum continued to accelerate through the second quarter with the Group’s performance in June particularly strong. Profit for the full year is now expected to be significantly ahead of the level signalled in our recent 11 June trading update.
  • Group net fee income for the second quarter was up 31%* (25% actual) with growth strongest across Asia Pacific and Europe. All regions returned to net fee income growth.
    • 80% (2020: 77%) of the Group’s net fee income now derived from international operations.
    • Asia Pacific, the Group’s largest region, now accounts for 46% of Group net fee income (2020: 41%).
  • Asia Pacific net fee income up 48%* (39% actual) to £40.9m (2020: £29.4m).
    • Net fee income grew in excess of 25%* across every market in the region with growth rates strongest in Malaysia and Mainland China; each more than doubling net fee income year-on-year.
    • In Japan and Australia, the Group’s largest and most profitable markets in the region, net fee income grew in excess of 45%* and 35%* respectively year-on-year.
  • Europe net fee income up 26%* (22% actual) to £23.4m (2020: £19.2m).
    • Broad based growth across the region.
    • Strong bounce-back continued in two of the region’s largest businesses, France and Spain, with net fee income increasing in excess of 25%* and 80%* respectively year-on-year.
  • UK net fee income up 9% to £18.0m (2020: £16.5m).
    • Candidate and client confidence continued to improve across the UK market, with recruitment activity levels highest in London across commerce finance, legal and technology.
    • Activity levels in Resource Solutions, our recruitment process outsourcing business, were more muted as a result of the lag effect of organisations rebuilding recruitment teams at the beginning of recovery cycles.
  • Other International (the Americas, South Africa and the Middle East) net fee income up 20%* (11% actual) to £6.7m (2020: £6.0m).
  • The large majority of the Group’s offices are open, however this remains volatile due to fluctuations in local infection rates and government policies.
  • Headcount currently stands at 3,230 (31 March 2021: 3,221).
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of £112.8m as at 30 June 2021 (30 June 2020: £119.0m). The Group also has a £60.0m committed loan facility which expires in 2024.

The Group will publish its half-yearly results for the six months ended 30 June 2021 on 27 July 2021.


Further information

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

Williams Nicolson                             +44 7767 345 563
Steffan Williams


About Robert Walters Group
The Robert Walters Group is a market-leading international specialist professional recruitment group with over 3,200 staff spanning 31 countries. We specialise in the placement of the highest calibre professionals across the disciplines of accountancy and finance, banking, engineering, HR, IT, legal, sales, marketing, secretarial and support and supply chain and procurement. Our client base ranges from the world’s leading blue-chip corporates and financial services organisations through to SMEs and start-ups. The Group’s outsourcing division, Resource Solutions is a market leader in recruitment process outsourcing and managed services.


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.