Barnett Waddingham helps disadvantaged young Londoners

29 April 2016

Youth unemployment remains an area of concern, even in one of the most prosperous regions in the UK, London. Around 20% of those aged between 16-24 have no job, with almost 25% out of work for more than a year. A number of business and charity stakeholders, supported by the The City of London Corporation, are seeking to find ways of supporting young people – particularly from disadvantaged areas – into employment within the City. The Brokerage Citylink, in partnership with Barnett Waddingham, has since 2015 been supporting London state school pupils connect with work within the City’s financial district.

Youth unemployment has been stubbornly high across the EU since the 2008 economic crisis; youth face an uphill battle securing a place for themselves within their respective economies. In many countries, youth unemployment has further resulted in depressed wages of those in employment and has led some pundits to talk about a ‘lost generation’. In the UK no less, with around 19.5% of those aged between 16 and 24 living in London neither in education nor in employment. The London youth unemployment rate is the third highest rate in England - while the region boosts one of the strongest local economies in the country

As it stands, 23% of young people that are unemployed, have been unemployed for more than 12 months. Paths out of the situation are also difficult to find, with few able to afford internships (at around £926 per month for living in the capital), while fewer apprenticeships are offered by employers in the capital (8%) compared to the rest of England (11%). Employers in the capital are seeking ways to improve pathways to employment for youth in the region, as noted in the report released by The City of London Corporation into the issue – which includes a range of propositions from business and community stakeholders to improve the situation for young people in the city.

The Brokerage Citylink, in partnership with Barnett Waddingham, is one of the contributors to the report. The Brokerage Citylink has been active in bridging the space between young people and the financial services industry for more than 20 years. The organisation seeks to support Londoners that face severe deprivation, disadvantage and income inequality move up in the business world and works exclusively with young people that attended London state schools.

The partnership between The Brokerage Citylink and Barnett Waddingham was formed last year, and so far involves running workshops for students - delivered by The Brokerage Citylink and held at Barnett Waddingham’s London office. The workshop involves tours around the firm’s office, highlighting the realities of working in the city and demonstrating that good careers in the city are attainable. In addition, the partners support the Brokerage’s Schools Business Challenge.

“We see a wealth of young, bright and enthusiastic students who just don’t get opportunities to see the inside of businesses with smart offices, or meet people who work there and find out what they do. At the same time, corporate executives get to see future talent in action, more representative of London’s diverse population. We see all our programmes as delivering a win/win, where everyone gains from the experience.”

The partnership continues into 2016. This year Barnett Waddingham will provide a range of additional support activities, such as CV writing workshops, mock assessment centres and practice interviews – all focused on the schools within disadvantaged outer London boroughs. The firm will also host Masterclasses, aimed at local sixth formers who will attend dedicated workshops, focusing on different practice areas within the business.


High employment drives deals to access fresh talent

09 April 2019

The UK continues to have a historically low unemployment rate, resulting in a tightening employment market and demand for recruitment services. The industry topped £12.3 billion last year, while valuations continued to rachet up. There were were 32 firm acquisitions in the recruitment services space last year, up significantly on the previous five-year average.

Labour markets globally are tightening, particularly in developed economies. At the same time, access to top talent is becoming increasingly difficult to source, as demand for that talent continues to rise. Higher demand has been one of the key drivers for acquisitions in the space. New analysis of the recruitment M&A market, from consultancy firm BDO, looks at current trends and future projections for activity in the segment.

The UK employment rate has grown considerably over the past decade, with the number of NEET decreasing, more women joining the workforce, and older people continuing to work, among other trends. Participation rates hit more than 75% in 2018, up from around 73% in 2014. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% last year, the lowest level in more than 40 years.

UK Recruitment Market


The recruitment industry has enjoyed strong growth over the same period, with revenues increasing from around £8 billion in 2014 to £12.3 billion last year. However, the growth rate for the industry is expected to stall for the coming years – the firm is projecting annual growth of 0.1% to 2024. The stall reflects deep seated uncertainties stemming from the future of the UK, from migration to internal employment in an increasingly uncertain future.

According to the firm’s analysis of market trends for UK listed FTSE recruitment companies, their performance over 2018 outperformed the wider FTSE market by a significant market during some months – the end-of-year uncertainty hit both recruitment and non-recruitment firms with relatively equal strength. The drop partly reflects market sentiment about the future of the UK.

FTSE Listed Recruitment Firms Average EV/EBITDA Multiple


The study also considered the multiples growth, average EV/EBITDA multiples, over the past year – which has shown considerable ups and downs. The yearly average multiple of 10.4x was above that of 2017’s 9.9x – although a 26% drop at the end of the year was significant. The drop was tied to the relative volatility in macroeconomic conditions affecting the globe, though another major contributing factor has been Brexit and political instability.

Global M&A

The global recruitment M&A market was particularly active in the UK, with 32 deals last year – a five-year high, and well above the 17 recorded for second-place US. Deal activity in the UK was focused on expertise and capacity in industrial and technical sectors, reflecting skills shortages in those segments. The US was largely focused on healthcare-related M&A, representing 25% of their market.

Overall, of the 92 deals in 2018 (a 21% drop on 2017) generalist firms were the most in demand, at 25% of the total, followed by education at 14% and engineering & construction at 13%. Software saw relatively low demand, at 2%.Investment into the UK by country

In terms of investments made into the UK, domestic investment continues to be the most dominant, accounting for 24 deals. Japan made three deals, although Brexit is seeing the country become increasingly nervous about investment. The US accounted for two deals. The longer-term trend shows that domestic investment is up on 2017, hitting the highest level in five years, while the US has reduced its M&A investment into the UK.

Commenting on the results, the firm noted, “The latest report shows the recruitment sector remains strong and continued to grow through 2018 despite facing many challenges. Notwithstanding the personalised nature of these services, the market continues to evolve, seeing traditional recruitment firms utilising available technology along with new entrants showcasing innovative platforms.”

Related: High UK employment masks troubled economy.