Workforce Holdings back to profit as economic recovery takes hold

The labour market has shown signs of a comeback after a net 1.4-million jobs were lost in 2020

Employment services company Workforce Holdings returned to profitability in the six months to end-June as the economic recovery took hold, spurring demand for staff.

The labour market has shown signs of recovery in the first half of 2021, after a net 1.4-million jobs were lost in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on the economy, which shrank 7%, the most on record.

Workforce, which provides staffing, outsourcing and training solutions, said on Monday its operations are in a better shape compared with the same period a year ago when SA’s first hard lockdown restrictions permitted only essential services.

“Volumes of activity have not yet returned to levels experienced pre-Covid-19, but the recovery is significant, and Workforce expects that the remaining six months will return a promising result,” CEO Ronny Katz said.

Headline earnings per share, the main profit measure that strips out exceptional items, was 11.2c, swinging from a loss of 8.5c a year before.  Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) — the company’s main profitability measure — rose to R58m from a loss of R9.5m.

Katz put a positive spin on the economy heading into the second half of the financial year, saying the third wave of the pandemic has been contained.

“We foresee a reinvigoration of the permanent placement industry, coupled with a change in emphasis in the areas in which staffing will be required. This demand should be further supported by the necessary infrastructure rollout and policies that government must follow,” he said.

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