Hiring and firing – The latest recruitment curve

The Robert Walters Group has axed hundreds of staff as it battles a slowdown in hiring around the world.

The recruitment consultancy said it had axed about 220 roles in the last three months of last year, taking its total headcount down to 3,980.

The company reported a 10pc slowdown in fee income as companies around the world have had their hiring plans derailed by higher interest rates.

Chief executive Toby Fowlston said: “Despite the challenging macro-economic conditions, the group has delivered a resilient fourth quarter and FY23 profit before tax will be in line with market expectations.”

Robert Walters’ struggles comes as Britain finds itself in the grip of the longest slump in job vacancies on record as higher interest rates knock the labour market.

The Market

78% of businesses recruited in the 4th quarter of 2023, which is a slight dip from 80% in quarter 3, but this figure is consistent with the end of 2022.

The number of vacancies fell under a million as the labour market cooled but still remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The average time to hire applicants increased slightly from 6.1 weeks to 6.2 weeks between quarters 3 and 4, but is less than the previous year of 6.4 weeks.

Over a third (36%) of businesses say staying on top of operating costs is their number one challenge for 2024, followed by meeting candidate salary expectations (30%).

The key people-priority for businesses in 2024 is improving staff retention and engagement (46%), as businesses turn their focus on maintaining a happier, long-term workforce.

Original articles created from The Telegraph and Total Jobs.

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