White-collar job movers are benefiting from pay increases of up to 25 per cent as firms battle for staff in roles across financial and professional services, according to recruiter Robert Walters.
The booming jobs market boosted second-quarter net fee income by a quarter at the British recruitment firm, which specialises in accounting, legal, financial services and tech jobs.
Robert Walters said on Wednesday that full-year profit would be above market expectations, predicting there would be no slowdown in the strong demand for skilled workers globally this year despite recessionary fears.
Chief executive Robert Walters, who founded the company in 1985, said the firm has seen wage inflation across all sectors as groups played “catch up” to bring workers into increasingly specialised roles after the end of pandemic lockdowns.
The news underpinned shares, which rose 2 per cent to 517p on Wednesday morning.
Employers are having to increase wages rapidly as they fight over attracting and retaining the best candidates for top white-collar jobs, while lower paid roles are also benefiting from pay increases to counter the squeeze from fast-rising inflation.
PwC, the accounting firm, last week said that it would raise salaries across about half of its UK workforce by 9 per cent, matching the rate of British inflation.
Alan Bannatyne, finance director of the recruitment firm, said that the company had seen wage increases of 20-25 per cent for workers when they moved jobs.
He added that many companies were now considering half-yearly bonuses to keep wages growing with inflation, as well as six-monthly cycles of bonuses to reward higher achieving staff.
Bannatyne pointed to a record 1.3mn vacancies for jobs as a reason for confidence in the market, in part sparked by the “Great Resignation” trend as people reshuffled priorities and sought new challenges during the pandemic.
Net fee income climbed to a record £112mn in the three months ended June 30, from £89mn a year ago. Four-fifths of the UK-listed group’s net fee income is generated by international businesses, with a rise of more than a fifth in its largest markets in Asia Pacific and a rise of a third in fees from Europe.
The company said workers numbers increased by 7 per cent since the end of March as it increased its own staff to meet pent-up demand.
The chief executive said the “strong performance means that profit for the full year is now expected to be slightly ahead of current market expectations”.
Walters played down recessionary fears in the UK, although admitted that recruiters need predictability and confidence to support the market for jobs.