The recruitment sector has seen strong demand for its services amid staffing shortages coming out of the pandemic. PageGroup is largely focused on white collar office workers.
Operating profit for the year through December was now expected to be in the region of £165 million, the company said in a trading update. This represents an uplift of £10 million on the figure given at a third quarter update on 6 October.
‘The positive momentum and trends the group has seen during 2021, particularly at the end of the third quarter, have continued at both a regional and global level in the period,’ PageGroup said.
BIG GROWTH VERSUS 2019
Growth in October was 16% compared to 2019 in constant currencies and November was up 26%, it added.
Numis analyst Steve Woolf noted the company has made good progress against the targets outlined at an investor event in 2018 and said a similar exercise on 9 December ‘provides an opportunity to revisit the progress to-date and outline the next phase of the strategy’.
Woolf added: ‘Covid-19 has presented significant challenges for the recruiters, but also some opportunities. With the prospect of further earnings upgrades the shares are trading at the low end of a 16-20x (earnings) range for the recruiters at this point in the cycle. Cash demands remain low, supporting further special dividends, and a yield of c.5% adds to the attraction.’