ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss recruitment company Adecco expects 2021 will be a tough year for permanent job hires across Europe, with employers still under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and as government support measures come to an end, a senior company executive told Reuters.
Adecco competes globally with rivals Randstad, ManpowerGroup as well as local staffing companies, which are all seeing big changes in the employment market caused by the pandemic.
Many companies which held back from cutting jobs last year will launch restructuring drives in the first half of this year, Christophe Catoir, president of the Adecco brand - which places temporary and permanent workers - told Reuters.
"For 2021 you will see a difficult impact for white collar hiring," he said. "Restructuring has started in the fourth quarter of 2020 and will run into the first and second quarter of this year.
"We have not touched the bottom of the swimming pool yet," said Catoir, who sits on Adecco's board. "In 25 years I have never seen such uncertainty."
In its third-quarter results in November, Adecco Group reported a 15% drop in revenues compared with a year earlier, although the company said it was seeing a gradual improvement as businesses reopened.
For 2021, Catoir expects there will a marked decline in the availability of permanent placements for white collar professionals in areas like payroll management, financial control and other corporate functions.
This will be replaced by a rise in temporary hiring, he said as companies prefer to remain flexible.
"Although each wave of the virus is less impactful than the previous one, the companies are weaker than before," Catoir said, meaning they will hold off on permanent hiring for the time being.
(Reporting by John Revill. Editing by Jane Merriman)