2020 was a year shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had an inescapable impact on key economic metrics: global GDP fell by 4.4%, while that of the Eurozone slumped by 6.8%.
Within Europe, the unemployment rate rose from 7.4% in December 2019 to 8.3% in December 2020. The increase was limited largely by the employment support policies introduced by most European countries.
In such a challenging scenario, one which we hope will never be repeated, Gi Group demonstrated its solidity. Turnover in 2020 amounted to €2.5 billion, essentially stable compared to the previous year’s figure, with EBITDA standing at €62.5 million, down 13.7% in 2019 but €3 million higher than the 2020 budget, reviewed after the start of the pandemic.
These results were achieved by maintaining, and where possible increasing, the know-how that we have consolidated in recent years: it is no coincidence that the number of direct employees in 2020 rose to almost 6,000.
In parallel, a detailed analysis of planned investments was conducted and, where possible, costs were rationalised, so as not to impede the company’s potential for growth.
– various investments deemed inconsistent with the present situation (such as marketing and IT) were postponed
– rent payments were renegotiated, due in part to the spaces not being used as a result of the health emergency
– employees were incentivised to use outstanding leave and, where possible, all job support measures made available by local governments to support the economy and businesses during the lockdown periods were adopted
Furthermore, in the midst of such a complex situation, we never lost sight of our foremost priority: the safety of our employees. From the onset of the pandemic, the vast majority of employees were able to work remotely, enabling service continuity while protecting the health of personnel.
At the same time, we continued to invest in career development: an average 35 hours of training were provided to each employee, more than double the previous year’s amount.
There was also a focus on activities of major social and cultural impact. These many projects included establishing a framework that outlined the concept of sustainability as applied to the jobs market, in order to guide the development of internal processes and of products and services provided to candidates, employees and customers.
We also continued to expand externally, completing a number of consolidations and acquisitions:
– In July, the acquisition of Grupo Norte in Spain was finalised. The Spanish company is specialised in temporary and permanent staffing and training, with over 40 years of experience in the local market.
– During the summer, the acquisitions of the outplacement business unit of CareerArc in the United States and Kelly Services in Brazil, the Brazilian branch of the US multinational Kelly Services, were concluded. In the same period, acquisition was completed of the controlling interest in Work Service, a company listed on the Warsaw stock exchange, a leader in Poland and in Central European countries in the HR services sector.
– In December the Enginium subsidiary acquired the business unit of Info Solution, a company with over 20 years of experience and extensive skills in the aerospace and defence sector.
– 25th March 2021 saw the conclusion of the acquisition of Jobtome, one of the leading online job aggregators worldwide. Established in 2014 and based in Switzerland, today Jobtome operates in 35 countries and has over 10 million users worldwide.
– In May 2021, the tender offer launched by Gi Group on Work Service was closed. With this transaction, we further consolidated our interest in the Polish company, bringing the shareholding to 75%.
– On 30th June 2021, Axxis Intérim & Recrutement was acquired, a company operating in France with 54 branches, offering temporary and permanent staffing and training solutions to over 1,700 business customers.
Our Group’s diligent and selective approach to investments, care for its employees, and unceasing focus on external expansion, allowed it to relaunch earlier and better than its competitors as soon as the market showed signs of recovery. At the time of publication of this document, we are seeing results substantially higher than in 2020 and in the budget forecasts for this year, we now expect to register a turnover in 2021 in excess of €3 billion.
Gi Group therefore continues to pursue its development paths despite the crisis and confirms its ambitious but realistic target of achieving a turnover of €6 billion by the end of the two-year period 2023-2024.
We will do this, as always, strong in the quality of our people and values and with a single objective in mind, the same since its foundation in 1998: to create value through the ability to understand and meet the increasingly complex needs of candidates and companies.
CEO, Gi Group