July 30, 2020 / 6:52 AM / 7 days ago

Robert Walters revenue tumbles as lockdowns put hiring on ice

(Reuters) - British recruiting firm Robert Walters’ reported a 22% drop in half-year revenue along with a small profit on Thursday, while adding that current trading was in line with market expectations for the full year as it battles a coronavirus-driven collapse in hiring.

Recruiters around the globe were hammered by hiring freezes at the start of the health crisis, forcing peers PageGroup, SThree and Hays to report huge drops in net fees earlier this month.

The firm said it had cut group headcount by almost 600 staff, or around 14%, in the first half.

Robert Walters, which had already scrapped dividends and laid out cost cuts through the year, also reduced the number of consultants it employs in response to the downturn.

“Current trading is in line with market expectations for the full year, albeit visibility remains limited”, Chief Executive Robert Walters said in a statement.

The company said revenue fell to 496.4 million pounds ($642.74 million) for the six months ended June 30 from 634.5 million pounds a year earlier, while pre-tax profit fell nearly 80%.

($1 = 0.7723 pounds)

Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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