10 January 2023

Robert Walters Group releases Q4 2022 trading update

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The Robert Walters Group today announced its Q4 2022 trading update for the quarter ended 31 December 2022.

Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented: “The global macro-economic backdrop became increasingly uncertain as the quarter progressed resulting in a softening of recruitment activity levels across many of the Group’s markets. Nevertheless, the Group continued to see growth, albeit more muted, across all regions and all forms of recruitment – permanent, temporary, interim and recruitment process outsourcing - with net fee income for the fourth quarter up 8%* year-on-year.

“Group net fee income for the full year was up 20%* with full year profit expected to be a record, albeit slightly below current market expectations.

“The Group has a strong global brand, a diverse breadth of geographies, disciplines and revenue streams and remains well positioned to both respond to and take advantage of any future market challenges and opportunities as they arise.”

Financial and operational highlights

Gross profit (Net fee income) Q4 2022

Q4 2021

% change % change (constant currency*)
Group £105.3m £95.1m 11% 8%
Asia Pacific £46.8m £44.8m 4% 3%
Europe £32.8m £27.0m 21% 18%
UK £17.2m £16.0m 8% 8%
Other International £8.5m £7.3m 17% 2%
* Constant currency is calculated by applying prior period average exchange rates to local currency results for the current and prior years.


Group Highlights

  • Group net fee income grew 8%* (11% actual) year-on-year with all forms of recruitment – permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing – continuing to grow despite the more uncertain market conditions. 
  • All of the Group’s regions delivered net fee income growth. 
    • 84% (2021: 83%) of the Group’s net fee income is now generated by our international businesses. 
  • Headcount up 2% quarter-on-quarter to 4,356 (30 September 2022: 4,267). Headcount peaked in November and declined in December reflecting the more challenging market conditions. 
  • During the quarter, the Group purchased and cancelled 693,818 shares at an average price of £4.97 for £3.5m. 
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of £96.4m as at 31 December 2022 (31 December 2021: £126.6m). 

Regional Highlights

  • Asia Pacific net fee income up 3%* (4% actual) to £46.8m (2021: £44.8m). 
    • Tough year-on-year comparatives across the region following a record final quarter of 2021. 
    • The strongest rates of net fee income growth were delivered by South Korea (up 30%*), Malaysia (up 29%*) and New Zealand (up 18%*). 
    • Net fee income in Japan and Australia, the region’s largest businesses declined by 2%* and 3%* respectively. 
    • Net fee income in Mainland China declined 24%* year-on-year with market conditions still heavily impacted by Covid disruption and restrictions. 
    • Record quarter for Resource Solutions with net fee income up 33%* year-on-year. 
  • Europe net fee income up 18%* (21% actual) to £32.8m (2021: £27.0m). 
    • Good performance across the region with six out of nine markets delivering double-digit net fee income growth. 
    • France, the Netherlands and Spain, the region’s largest businesses, increased net fee income by 21%*, 16%* and 12%* respectively. 
    • Elsewhere across the region, Germany continued to grow strongly increasing net fee income by 28%* year-on-year. 
  • UK net fee income up 8% to £17.2m (2021: £16.0m). 
    • Financial services, commerce finance and technology recruitment activity levels held up well through the quarter despite the negative UK economic backdrop. Notable uptick in contract recruitment. 
    • Activity levels across Resource Solutions remained slightly muted with net fee income down 6%*. 
      • Two new client wins secured during the quarter. Seven net new clients year-on-year provides a good platform for future growth. 
  • Other International (the Americas, South Africa and the Middle East) net fee income up 2%* (17% actual) to £8.5m (2021: £7.3m). 
    • In the Americas, our businesses in South America performed strongly with all markets increasing net fee income by over 20%* year-on-year. Tough market conditions across the US resulted in a significant decline in net fee income. 
    • The Middle East, the largest business in the region, increased net fee income by 3%* against tough prior year comparatives. 

The Group will publish full year results for the year ended 31 December 2022 on 9 March 2023.


Further information

Robert Walters plc                            +44 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 specialise in the placement of the highest calibre professionals across the disciplines of accountancy and finance, banking, engineering, HR, healthcare, IT, legal, sales, marketing, secretarial and support and supply chain, logistics 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.