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Every UK recruitment consultant at Michael Page makes £24k profit. Profits from UK banking recruitment are down 50% on last year

The promised land for financial services recruiters

The promised land for financial services recruiters

You may be wondering how financial services recruiters are faring. Fortunately, Michael Page, Robert Walters and Hays have all released their quarterly results.

The picture is blurred, but two things are clear. Firstly:London financial services recruiter are losing their jobs. Secondly:London financial services recruiters will probably be earning a lot less this year.

Losing jobs

As we said yesterday, Michael Page cut 99 staff in the UK over the past quarter. This was 7.3% of its total.

Hays also cut consultants, trimming 5% of its UK and Irish staff in the first quarter.

Robert Walters didn’t break out what happened to headcount in the UK, but said it had hired 53 people since the end of December. This may be related to its new technology-focused San Francisco office. 

If you want to try your luck working for Robert Walters in the UK, you can click here to see all the internal jobs it’s advertising. Notably, none of them are for banking specialist recruiters for permanent roles, although it has been looking for a contract recruiter since October 2011.

Earning less

Historically, financial services recruitment has been a way of becoming moderately rich.

This year, however, recruiters will be earning less. The three recruitment firms above are unanimous in their verdict that 2012 is proving a bad year for financial services recruitment. Michael Page is a little more specific: gross profits in its UK banking business are down 50% year-on-year. Across the UK business, average profit per consultant is now a mere £24k.

Nor is it possible to escape the dire UK recruitment market and reinvent yourself in Asia. Asian financial services recruitment is not good either. Hays said activity was ‘subdued’ in Hong Kong and Singapore. Michael Page assented.

Germany is where it’s at

Instead of Asia,Germany is the place now. Every recruiter identified Germany as a big growth market. Hays’ German fees grew 36%. So, coincidentally, did Michael Page’s.

It’s all due to disintermediation in the German market: German companies used to do all their hiring directly, now they use recruiters instead.

Comments (3)

  1. These contingency recruiters are now cost driven and their offer has become diluted, Don’t misinterpret the loss of consultants jobs in London – these roles are being dumbed down and re-located to low cost sites in the UK and India.

    If you really want to know where the consultant handling your hiring is, ask them to meet you in 2 hours – hard to catch a train from Glasgow in that time.

    Quality candidates are either networking because some 25 year old graduate can’t possibly understand their needs (or the needs of the client for that matter) or they are going to the specialist headhunters.

    These firms will kill off their own industry by being cost obsessed rather than customer driven.

  2. “cost obsessed rather than customer driven” … finally costs are coming down, and it is crushing the over-priced head-hunters/recruiters still stuck in the 80s who have failed to keep up with technological innovation. No-one needs research teams anymore, 40-80% of the candidates are on linkedin for free, 99% are on Bloomberg. So fees should fall, it’s logical. “Their” industry is thriving, it’s the old-fashioned businesses (with fictional double-barrelled names) which have failed to keep up, the financial industry is better off with the decline of the old guard.

    Note the recent merger of Carrington Fox and Webber Chase, doubt this was on the back of strength, and follows the disappearance of Kinsey Allen last year.

    The industry will polarise to very cheap generalists, and very niche high-end specialists. Mid-market firms charging 33% are a dying breed indeed.

    I’m up 50%yoy so must have taken Michael Page’s clients, I will reinvest the money in a few India based assistants, for £500pm…

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