Hudson UK Results May Signal Recruitment Industry Rebound
Hudson UK Results May Signal Recruitment Industry Rebound Critical, professional-level skills shortage drives increased hiring for many employers
Driven largely by resurgent professional-level hiring activity in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, international recruiter Hudson (Nasdaq: HHGP) achieved a solid 18 per cent year-over-year gross margin increase in the UK market during its fiscal first quarter ended 31 March 2010.
The company recorded gross margin of 9.5 million (U.S. $14.8 million) compared with 8 million (U.S. $11.5 million) for the same period a year ago. Further, Hudson achieved 14 per cent sequential gross margin growth from the fourth quarter of 2009, something rarely achieved in an industry that historically starts the year slowly, further indicating the strength of the market upturn.
Hudson's strong results come amidst other emerging industry signs that the employment market is starting to pick up. According to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report, permanent placements rose in the UK at their fastest pace in more than twelve years during March 2010, defying traditional pre-election economic uncertainty. In addition, short-term staff appointments rose at their fastest rate in nearly three years, and salaries for permanent positions climbed again.
"Needless to say, the past 18 months have been extremely challenging for anyone in the recruitment field," said Jon Chait, Hudson chairman and chief executive officer, and head of its UK business operation. "Employers have had to weather extremely lean times, reducing their workforce and deferring new hires until the economy began showing signs of improvement. Today, the skills shortage is an acute problem for both the public and private sectors."
"Our focus on professional-level specialty skills (IT, legal, accounting, sales and marketing) and key growth industries (banking and finance, healthcare and energy) is evidence that we have made some good choices during this downturn, and we believe are now well positioned to benefit from a market upturn," Chait added. "Our progress is also a testament to the quality and dedication of our consultants, and their ability to seize market opportunities in this fast-changing environment."