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S&P 500   5,123.41
DOW   37,983.24
QQQ   438.27
Israel hails 'success' in blocking Iran's unprecedented attack. Biden now seeks diplomatic response
Germany's Scholz arrives in China on a visit marked by trade tensions and Ukraine conflict
India's Modi vows to boost social spending, make country into a manufacturing hub ahead of election
Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court
The craze for Masters gnomes is growing. Little golf-centric statue is now a coveted collector item
Olympic track uniforms spark online debate about who designed them and why they're so skimpy
Momofuku backs down from defending its 'chile crunch' trademark after outcry by small businesses
S&P 500   5,123.41
DOW   37,983.24
QQQ   438.27
Israel hails 'success' in blocking Iran's unprecedented attack. Biden now seeks diplomatic response
Germany's Scholz arrives in China on a visit marked by trade tensions and Ukraine conflict
India's Modi vows to boost social spending, make country into a manufacturing hub ahead of election
Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court
The craze for Masters gnomes is growing. Little golf-centric statue is now a coveted collector item
Olympic track uniforms spark online debate about who designed them and why they're so skimpy
Momofuku backs down from defending its 'chile crunch' trademark after outcry by small businesses
S&P 500   5,123.41
DOW   37,983.24
QQQ   438.27
Israel hails 'success' in blocking Iran's unprecedented attack. Biden now seeks diplomatic response
Germany's Scholz arrives in China on a visit marked by trade tensions and Ukraine conflict
India's Modi vows to boost social spending, make country into a manufacturing hub ahead of election
Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court
The craze for Masters gnomes is growing. Little golf-centric statue is now a coveted collector item
Olympic track uniforms spark online debate about who designed them and why they're so skimpy
Momofuku backs down from defending its 'chile crunch' trademark after outcry by small businesses

Robert Half Q1 2022 Earnings Call Transcript


Listen to Conference Call View Latest SEC 10-K Filing

Participants

Corporate Executives

  • M. Keith Waddell
    Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Michael C. Buckley
    Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Presentation

Operator

Hello, and welcome to the Robert Half First Quarter 2022 Conference Call. Our for today's call are Mr. Keith Waddell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Robert Half, and Mr. Michael Buckley, Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Waddell, you may begin.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Hello, everyone. We appreciate your time today. Before we get started, I'd like to remind you that the comments made on today's call contain forward-looking statements, including predictions and estimates about our future performance. These statements represent our current judgment of what the future holds. However, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in today's press release and our most recent 10-K and 10-Q filed with the SEC. We assume no obligation to update the statements made on today's call.

During this presentation, we may mention some non-GAAP financial measures and reference these figures as, as adjusted reconciliations and further explanations of these measures are included in a supplemental schedule to our earnings press release.

We'd like to remind you that beginning this quarter, our financial disclosures for contract operations, formally temporary and consulting staffing, are based on functional specialization rather than our previously branded divisions. The functional specializations our finance and accounting, administrative and customer support, and technology. Finance and accounting combines the former Accountemps and Management Resources. administrative and customer support was previously OfficeTeam, and technology was formerly Robert Half Technology. Protiviti and our permanent placement operations continue to be reported separately. Also, what we previously referred to as staffing operations are now referred to as talent solutions. There is no change to our underlying business operations or organization.

Our presentation of revenues and the related growth rates for each of our contract functional specializations includes intersegment revenues from services provided to Protiviti in connection with the Company's blended talent solutions and consulting operations. This is how we measure and manage these businesses internally. The combined amount of intersegment revenues with Protiviti is also separately disclosed. The supplemental schedules just mentioned also include a revenue schedule showing this information for 2020 through 2022. For your convenience, our prepared remarks for today's call are available in the Investor Center of our website roberthalf.com.

We are very pleased to report another very strong quarter, driven by a robust demand environment across the globe. First-quarter revenues grew 30% and net income grew 52% on a year-over-year basis. Our permanent placement talent solutions, again led the way, achieving year-over-year revenue growth of 67%. Our contract talent solutions and Protiviti also continued to post very strong results, growing year-over-year revenues by 30% and 19%, respectively.

Our continued success would not be possible without the dedicated commitment of our entire global workforce, including talent solutions, Protiviti, and corporate services professionals. Companywide revenues were $1.815 billion in the first quarter of 2022, up 30% from last year's first quarter on a reported basis, and up 31% on an adjusted basis. Net income per share in the first quarter was $1.52, increasing 55% compared to $0.98 in the first quarter one year ago.

Cash flow from operations during the quarter was $69 million. In March, we distributed a $0.43 per share cash dividend to our shareholders of record for a total cash outlay of $47 million. Our per share dividend has grown 11.7% annually since inception in 2004. The March '22 dividend was 13.2% higher than in 2021. We also acquired approximately 475,000 Robert Half shares during the quarter for $55 million. We have 6.7 million shares available for repurchase under our Board-approved stock repurchase plan. Return on invested capital for the company was 47% in the first quarter.

Now I'll turn the call over to our CFO, Mike Buckley.

Michael C. Buckley
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer at Robert Half

Thank you, Keith, and hello, everyone. As Keith noted global revenues were $1.85 billion in the first quarter. On an as adjusted basis, first quarter talent solutions revenue were up 30% year-over-year. U.S. talent solutions revenue were $1.046 billion, up 38% from the prior year. Non-U.S. talent solutions revenue were $297 million, up 20% year-over-year on an as adjusted basis. We have 317 talent solutions locations worldwide, including 83 locations in 17 countries outside of the United States. In the first quarter, there were 62.4 billing days compared to 62.3 billing days in the first quarter of 2021. The current second quarter has 63.4 billing days, unchanged from the same quarter one year ago.

Currency exchange rate movements during the first quarter had the effect of decreasing reported year-over-year talent solutions revenue by $13 million. This negatively impacted our year-over-year reported talent solutions revenue growth rate by 1.3 percentage points. Contract talent solutions bill rates for the quarter increased 9.1% compared to one year ago. Adjusted for changes in the mix of revenue by functional specialization, currency and country. This rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 8.5%.

Now let's take a closer look at the results for Protiviti. Global revenues in the first quarter were $472 million, $369 million of that is from business within the United States and $103 million is from operations outside of the United States. On an as adjusted basis global first-quarter Protiviti revenues were up 20% versus the year-ago period with U.S. Protiviti revenues up 17%. Non-U.S. revenues were up 32% on an as adjusted basis. Exchange rates had the effect of decreasing year-over-year Protiviti revenues by $5 million and decreasing its year-over-year reported growth rate by 1.3 percentage points. Protiviti and its independently owned Member Firms serve clients through a network of 88 locations in 29 countries.

Turning now to gross margin. In contract talent solutions first-quarter gross margin was 40% of applicable revenues compared to 38% of applicable revenues in the first quarter one year ago. Gross margins were positively impacted by expanding pay bill spreads and higher conversion revenues or contract-to-hire, which were 4% of revenues in the quarter as compared to 3.1% of revenues in the same quarter one year ago. Our permanent placement revenues in the first quarter were 13.9% of consolidated talent solutions revenues versus 11.2% of consolidated talent solutions revenues in the same quarter one year ago. When combined with contract talent solutions gross margin, overall talent solutions gross margin was 48.3%, an increase of 2.7 percentage points compared to the year-ago first quarter.

For Protiviti gross margin was 26.2% of Protiviti revenues, compared to 26-5% Protiviti revenues one year ago. Adjusted for deferred compensation-related classification impacts gross margin for Protiviti was 25.3% for the quarter just ended compared to 26.9% one year ago. Gross margin in the current period was impacted by higher staff resource costs, including a significant expansion of headcount during the quarter.

Enterprise selling, general and administrative costs were 28.3% of global revenues in the first quarter compared to 30.3% in the same quarter one year ago. Adjusted for deferred compensation-related classification impacts enterprise SG&A costs were 29.8% for the quarter just ended compared to 29.5% one year ago. Talent solutions SG&A costs were 33.6% of talent solutions revenues in the first quarter versus 37% in the first quarter of 2021. Adjusted for deferred compensation-related classification impacts talent solutions SG&A costs were 35.6% for the quarter just ended compared to 36% one year ago. The higher mix of permanent placement revenues this quarter versus one year ago had the effective adding 1.5 percentage points to the quarter's adjusted SG&A ratio.

First-quarter SG&A costs for Protiviti were 13.3% of Protiviti revenues compared to 12.5% of revenues in the year ago period. Operating income for the quarter was $258 million adjusted for deferred compensation-related classification impacts, combined segment income was $228 million in the first quarter. Combined segment margin was 12.5%. First-quarter segment income from our talent solutions divisions was $171 million with a segment margin of 12.7%. Segment income for Protiviti in the first quarter was $57 million with a segment margin of 12.1%. Our first-quarter tax rate was 26%, the same as it was one year ago.

At the end of the first quarter accounts receivable were $1.072 billion and implied days sales outstanding or DSO was 53 days. Before we move on to second-quarter guidance let's review some of the monthly revenue trends we saw in the first quarter and so far in April, all adjusted for currency and billing days. Contract talent solutions exited the first quarter with March revenues up 28% versus the prior year compared to a percent increase for the full quarter. Revenue for the first three weeks of April were up 29% compared to the same period one year ago.

Permanent placement revenues in March were up 63% versus March of 2021. This compares to a 69% increase for the full quarter. For the first four weeks of April, permanent placement revenues were up 30% compared to the same period in 2021. We remind you that the comparative period of 2021 -- in 2021 experienced extraordinary growth, with permanent placement achieving 50% growth rates in the first three weeks of April 2021 and 97% for the full quarter.

We provide this information so that you have insight into some of the trends we saw during the first quarter and into the month of April. But as you know, these are very brief time periods. We caution against reading too much into that. With that in mind, we offer the following second-quarter guidance. Revenues $1.855 billion to $1.935 billion income per share $1.53 to $1.63. Midpoint revenues of $1.895 billion are 22% higher than the same period in 2021 on an as adjusted basis. Midpoint EPS of $1.58 is 19% higher than 2021. Note that in the prior year Q2 2021 revenues and EPS had very strong year-over-year growth rates of 40% and 227%, respectively.

The major financial assumptions underlying the midpoint of these estimates are as follows. Revenue growth on a year-over-year basis talent solutions up 25% to 27%, Protiviti up 9% to 11%, overall up 21% to 23%. Gross margin percentages contract talent 39% to 40%, Protiviti 27% to 28%, overall 41% to 43%. SG&A as a percentage of revenues, excluding deferred-compensation classification impacts talent solutions 36% to 37%, Protiviti 14% to 15%, overall 30% to 31%. For segment income talent solutions 12% to 13%, Protiviti 13% to 14%, overall 12% to 13%. Our tax rate 26% to 27%, shares outstanding 109 million to 110 million.

Second-quarter capital expenditures and capitalized cloud computing costs $25 million to $30 million. We limit our guidance to one quarter. All estimates we provide on this call are subject to the risks mentioned in today's press release and in our SEC filings.

Now I'll turn the call back over to Keith.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Thank you, Mike. The future work continues to evolve as remote and hybrid work models gain wider acceptance and the swift recovery across global labor markets has significantly increased the demand for our services. More than ever before clients are willing to recruit from outside their geographic region and to access deeper talent pools and lower price points than maybe available locally. Job candidates also benefit from the broader experiences and wider selection of jobs derived from out of market engagements. This remote work environment increasingly plays to our strengths and presents an unparalleled opportunity to capitalize on a structural shift in how source talent.

Additionally, our global brand, office network, candidate database, and advanced AI driven technologies allow us to successfully recruit the necessary talent for our clients to thrive and grow amid the Great Reshuffle, as professionals continue to change jobs at record levels and companies across the globe struggle to navigate unprecedented employee turnover. Global labor markets remain very robust. In the U.S. this is seen in the elevated levels of job openings and quits rates as well as low initial unemployment claims and a low unemployment rate, particularly those with a college degree where the rate is 2%. For small businesses, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the NFIB, recently reported that 92% of those hiring or trying to hire had few or no qualified applicants for open positions, and 47% of our small business owners had job openings that could not be filled.

As a result of this very strong demand environment, coupled with our unique ability to successfully secure hard-to-find candidates for our clients, we continue to see our talent solutions results recovering at a faster pace than we've experienced in the past. Our permanent placement and contract talent solutions segments, included blended solutions with Protiviti, have achieved cumulative sequential growth of 163% and 64%, respectively, during the seven quarters since the pandemic trough. Similar numbers for the financial crisis and dot-com recoveries or 83% and 30% and 87% and 40%, respectively.

Protiviti again reported double-digit revenue gains, which it has achieved for each of the last four years. Internal audit and blended solutions with contract talent solutions reported the strongest growth. The growth in technology consulting and risk and compliance solutions was impacted by the wind-down of a very large regulatory remediation project during the quarter. While replacement projects have already largely been secured, the second quarter will also be impacted as the wind-down completes and the new project start on a staggered basis. Protiviti's pipeline continues to be very strong and the aggressive hiring that took place during the first quarter was in support of anticipated additional resource requirements.

First-quarter public sector revenues exceeded expectations, grew 34% year-over-year to a total of $90 million, of which $72 million was reported by Protiviti and the balance reported by talent solutions. As was expected, work directly related to stimulus programs moderated in the quarter and we began to realize revenues from new work that leverages the credentials and deep relationships we've developed with this new client base. Educational institutions and government entities at all levels are experiencing talent shortage across their organizational structures, creating opportunities for us to provide contract talent, consulting services and managed solutions as their needs dictate. We expect second-quarter 2022 public sector revenues to be $95 million to $105 million and we continue to expect full-year 2022 public sector revenues to be at least flat to up 10% for the year.

To aid with prior-year comparisons, we've included a table on our website in the supplemental financial information section of the Investor Center showing our quarterly public sector revenues for 2021. For both talent solutions and for Tivity we're very optimistic about the year ahead, as we draw strength from our people, our technology, our brands, and our business model. We remain steadfastly focused on our time tested corporate purpose to connect people to meaningful and exciting work and provide clients with the talent and deep subject matter expertise, they need to confidently compete and grow. We are proud to be recently named one of only a few select companies by Fortune as a Most Admired Company for 25 consecutive years, in addition to making Barron's annual list of the 100 Most Sustainable Companies and Forbes' list of America's Best Employers for Diversity. This recognition would not be possible without the dedication and exemplary efforts of our employees across the globe.

Now Mike and I'll be happy to answer your questions, please ask just one question and a single follow up as needed. If there's time, we'll come back to you for additional questions.

Questions and Answers

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question will come from Andrew Steinerman with JPMorgan.

Andrew Steinerman
Analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Hey, Keith. I hope this question is okay, I'm going to ask you how long do you think Protiviti could sustain double-digit revenue growth? Obviously you emphasized that it would be -- that you have achieved that for years, and you also were very specific about how you think public sector will do this year within Protiviti is this going to be a double-digit, meaning 10 plus percent growth year for Protiviti? I surely see the second quarter is calling for about 10% at the midpoint.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

All right, so Andrew, the fact that we started 20% even with some of the short-term challenges we talked about for the second quarter, we're projecting up 10%. We would expect for the full year that Protiviti for 2022 would grow double-digits, double-digits up to mid-double-digits. So we're bullish on Protiviti. It's got this one large client that has decided to take many of the requirements in-house, which ended the engagement more quickly than we expected. The good news is, if that were going to happen there is not a better market to that to happen in, because we've essentially already redeployed to people. It's just a matter of timing.

So, notwithstanding that notwithstanding some of the headwinds that Protiviti alone has with public sector work, as we talked about when you put -- when you take an enterprise-level view of public sector we're quite bullish, in fact, we feel the best we felt in a long time about its prospects. But even if you just focus on Protiviti pulping sector, we still think for the year, we can get double-digit revenue growth.

Andrew Steinerman
Analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Excellent. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question will come from Mark Marcon with Baird. Your line is open.

Mark Marcon
Analyst at Robert W. Baird

Hey, good afternoon, Keith and Mike. Couple of questions, one would basically be the topic to azure [Phonetic], which is obviously there is some concerns out there with regards to the potential for cyclical slowing. All of your results thus far seem to lie that, are you seeing any signs anywhere within your book of business that would suggest that there are some signs of slowing or any chatter from any of your clients along those lines?

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

The simple answer, Mark is, no, we have not seen signs of slowing. The demand environment remains very, very strong, not only in the U.S. but globally as well. And so we sit here today, just as optimistic as we were 90 days ago, in fact, maybe even more.

Mark Marcon
Analyst at Robert W. Baird

That's great. And then the follow-up is, you've made a lot of investments in terms of tools and technology you can't be help but be struck by the margin improvement that you're seeing both on the talent side and on the perm side in terms of the margins and the efficiency that's coming through. I'm wondering, if you could take this opportunity to discuss a little bit about what you've done to make the process more efficient, how you're actually taking advantage of virtual work and all the work that you've done on AI and systems like that to improve the system -- to improve your efficiency as well as your reach and to continue to gain share?

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

So we have made a bunch of investments in technology. We've seen meaningful benefit from those. We leverage our database from the standpoint of previous candidate engagements to determine how they compare to our elite candidates. We use AI to compare a client's requirements to the profile of resume of the candidates. We are adding some exciting dimensions to what's already working very well in that we're now looking at how contract proven is a given candidate based on, have we place them before, have we vetted before and how far up the vetting ladder did they make it. Does our AI indicate they have been placed on a contract basis by another firm again all getting to how proven is a given candidate on a contract basis. We're adding that dimension to AI next month. I'm very excited about that.

We're also improving how we view a candidate's likelihood to respond to our request for them to apply to jobs by evaluating their activities with us as well as activities with other firms in our ecosystem from the standpoint of how active are they in the job market. And based on the nature of that engagement make a prediction about how likely they are to respond. So we have a profile-based dimension to our AI. We have a interaction with our recruiters how proven are your dimensions to our AI. And we have a, how active are you in the job market, which enables us to better predict whether you will respond to our outreach. All three of which are important when you're trying to make placements in today's market.

We've embedded that technology in our mobile app. I'm happy to report that we have the highest placement rate of any source from those candidates that apply via our mobile app and very successful. Further, we use our AI and our marketing recommendations program where every time we get an order we match those requirements to our database and we proactively reach out to every matching candidate and ask them to apply very effective even in this tight labor market, getting them to apply to our jobs and in this market the candidate decides everything.

So all of that considered our people are so most productive they've ever been. Part of that's because on average they're more experienced. Part of that's because we've got the least turnover, we've ever had. We've been very flexible with our people and letting them completely decide when and where they work, they are very pleased with that. That's worked out very well for them, that's worked out very well from us. So across many dimensions, and for many reasons, our people are more productive, they're making more money, we're sharing our success broadly with all of our employees, all of which comes together to make them more productive and make us continue to be effective, managing the candidate side of the equation, which as I just said, the key portion as we speak.

That's a long-winded answer, I don't know whether I missed anything.

Mark Marcon
Analyst at Robert W. Baird

The last time we talked, you mentioned you wish somebody had asked you about that. So I had to bring it up, but I mean it's pretty clear that you're being very effective in terms of raising margins and the productivity is going up. It seems like you're not done with those improvements and that there -- how much further do you have to go or how long is that journey in terms of optimization?

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Well, I -- well, first of all, just the adoption rate. So what we already has, has upside you put on top of that the improvements that I just talked about that's further upside. And so it's mid-innings at best.

Mark Marcon
Analyst at Robert W. Baird

Terrific, thank you.

Operator

Your next question will come from Heather Balsky with Bank of America.

Heather Balsky
Analyst at Bank of America

Hi, thanks for taking my question. I was hoping you could talk about the Protiviti margins, the EBIT margins during the quarter and give and take there, there were some commentary regarding headcount. So just curious what's going on there? And also you mentioned earlier that you had lost one large customer, I was wondering if that was a headwind to the margins during the quarter? Thank you.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Okay. And so we did aggressively add the headcount and it was high-single digits just in the quarter. They also do their annual reviews, salary-wise promotion-wise. And so those costs are effectively front-ended every year. Both of those were planned and embedded in our guidance. What was different than our guidance was that on the one hand internal audit significantly exceeded plan. And because our people there are totally utilized, we had to go and get more contractors to do that work that was new direct cost.

On the other hand this large regulatory remediation client, we didn't lose it. I mean the work wound down, there is other work streams we're confident we'll get. But the biggest ones were winding down slowly, the client decided to take the function in-house, which accelerated the wind-down. But for that sector, they were below plan on revenues, but because the cost where our internal full time people there was no cost savings. So when you put the above revenue internal audit with the below revenue regulatory or compliance together revenues came out at plan. However, you've got your risk and compliance cost at plan, you've got your internal audit costs because of the contractors above plan that resulted in margin compression.

But again, as I said, we think this is a one or two quarter challenge headwinds that we can manage around it's just the nature of any consulting business that sometimes you're going to have large projects that end that you then -- that takes some time to replace the good news is as I said earlier these have largely already been replaced. So we feel good about that, but the margins for the first quarter were impacted and the margins for the second quarter will be impacted, but not as much. And, in fact, on a sequential basis, the margins will improve. And by the way, on a sequential basis Protiviti's revenues are up 4%, 5%, which is pretty much on trend iIf you look back for several years, notwithstanding the large project that I just talked about. So that's good.

Heather Balsky
Analyst at Bank of America

That's really helpful. Thank you. One follow-up on the hiring piece. Just curious, I guess, how do you feel about -- especially given the recent hiring, how you feel about your recruiter base and are you -- do you expect to continue to grow it from here, I guess, for the rest of the year? Or just curious what's going on there?

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

So when you say recruiter base, I assume now we're talking about talent solutions rather than Protiviti.

Heather Balsky
Analyst at Bank of America

Yes, correct. Sorry about that.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

And so on the talent solutions side, we've been very actively adding to permanent placement headcount, kind of low-double digits, less than the top-line growth, but still low-double digits. On the contract talent solutions, we've had more capacity. Cumulatively, the growth rates haven't been as robust as permanent placement. So the hiring hasn't been as rapid. But we do plan to continue to add to heads more aggressively in permanent placement for obvious reasons, but we're adding to heads on the contract talent side as well. We're very bullish demand environment and job order flow remains very strong. It's all about getting the talent. And as I explained earlier, we've got experienced recruiters sourcing talent. We've got our technology. We have access to remote candidates that we've never had access to that broadens the pool.

And as we've also talked about on prior calls, we have these full-time engagement professionals that we engage on a full-time basis and that we then put them out on contracts with client. It gives us access to a larger pool of people i.e., already fully employed and it also allows us to provide continuity to our clients across engagements, because one of the challenges in this market is that our contractors get offered full-time jobs and they leave assignments early that requires us to have to replace. Well, that doesn't happen when the contractor is a full-time engagement professional for Robert Half it's effectively taking Protiviti's bench model if you will, and applying it to talent solutions, which we've done so very successfully.

Heather Balsky
Analyst at Bank of America

Thank you very much for the color. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question will come from Kevin McVeigh with Credit Suisse.

Kevin McVeigh
Analyst at Credit Suisse Group

Great, thanks so much. You've been pretty clear in this, I just want to make sure like the delta in the Protiviti margins in Q1 and Q2, is that the timing of that contract or is that increased capacity in anticipation of demand that's coming? Because I know there's always a little bit of a timing mismatch between when people are on-boarded. Is there any way to think about what utilization is? I know you typically don't give that, but maybe Protiviti utilization just so we can get a sense of the flexibility in terms of delivery.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Well -- and so there will be some of both. And so clearly with our enormous addition to heads in the first quarter we have a group of interns that come in later in the summer. So we haven't completely stopped hiring in Protiviti either. And so there is some margin dilution, as they get chargeable or utilized. And in addition, as we talked about there is this large contract that also has an impact, but the impact in Q2, shouldn't be as great as it was in Q1. And by the way, just to kind of frame the impact of that large client if that large client would have been flat in Q2 versus a year ago, the topline growth would have been 5 to 8 points higher. So it's meaningful.

Kevin McVeigh
Analyst at Credit Suisse Group

Yeah, for sure. Any. I mean it seems like the client shifted pretty abruptly any thoughts as to what drove that decision, I mean it seems like it literally went 180 on was it funding or just...

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

No, no, so it's a project that's been going on for three or four years, it's not been a recent thing. It was a remediation project clearly as you remediate the client gets in better condition and there's less remediation work to do. Also, they decided to bring the compliance function in-house rather than use -- rather than outsource it or co-source it. And it was that latter decision on their part for financial savings reasons that accelerated the wind-down of the project, but we are still in very good standing with the client. And as I said earlier, there are various work streams we're still proposing on and we're quite optimistic. But it's just part of the consulting business that your project portfolio changes and sometimes your large projects end and you have to replace them, but that's ordinary course of business. That's something they always had to deal with. And as I said, if it were going to happen, it couldn't happen at a better time given the underlying demand environment.

Kevin McVeigh
Analyst at Credit Suisse Group

Understood. Makes sense. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

And so let me just say one thing about public sector that we're typically asked that hasn't yet be asked, but let me preamp that. And so Q1 did exceed our expectations, public sector grew 34% on an enterprise basis. Our Q2 guide is only 3% below last year, which is a quarter where sequentially it was up 45%. So from a public sector standpoint. Q2 is the toughest comp of a year. We had many business as usual contract wins, as we said in our script you've got state and local government and educational institutions dealing with the same great reshuffle that commercial clients are, which has given rise to a lot of requirements that are right in our wheelhouse. It's blocking and tackling for us.

And so frankly, we're doing a lot better from an enterprise point of view with public sector than we expect it to even 90 days ago. The project pipeline that we've talked about in the past does continue to build housing assistance, IT and accounting modernization, project management, the pipeline builds, the win rates are good. Putting that all together and also as we talked about last quarter, the work is becoming more talents talent solutions centric because if you look at the risk profile, if you look at the sourcing credit, if you look at the specific contract requirements, all of that tends toward talent solutions.

We focus on enterprise-wide because, keep in mind, no matter which entity reports it, the vast majority of the work is done by contractors from talent solutions. So to some degree, there are some arbitrariness between the two. And so we're very pleased at how we've leveraged these new relationships and there is another dimension that makes it even better. And so during the quarter, we had $11 million in revenues on the contract side not talent solutions where when people rolled off those talent -- those public sector assignments, w almost immediately put them on, redeployed them on commercial talent solutions engagements. And so not only did we do better looking just at public sector from an enterprise point of view. If you also credit that we had candidates that we placed on talent solutions that we wouldn't have had, but for a public sector, it's even better.

So net-net long-winded, we're extremely pleased with how public sector is playing out. We talked last time where we thought for the full year, we would be same or up, we would grow. We were even more convicted to that than ever. So that was my question to myself.

Operator

Thank you. And your next question will come from Tobey Sommer from Truist Securities. Your line is open.

Tobey Sommer
Analyst at Truist Securities

Thanks. I was hoping to get your comments on bill rate growth, wage inflation where do you see that going, it was pretty strong high-single digit is -- are we close to a peak? And then just going to be at strong rates, how do you see that evolving in the coming quarters?

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

As you say, I mean, being up over 9% year-on-year is high versus historical standards, usually it's up 4% to 6% for an extended period of time. How long it lasts, I don't know, there are 11.3 million job openings in this country and fewer than half of that in unemployed people. So the labor market remains very tight, to what extent rising rates slow down the economy which impacts that I can't speak to. I would say that our margin expansion has come more from contract-to-hire conversion growth. We talked about it went from 3.1% to 4% during the quarter. Our margin expansion came more from adding these full-time engagement professionals where we get a higher margin than we get from our core contractor base.

So we're getting more margin expansion there than we are on the pay bill spread because when wages are up 7%, 8% it's harder to put margin on top of that than if wages are up 4% or 5% and putting margin on that. We're not being diluted, don't get me wrong, we're slightly expanding pay bill spreads. But the big margin expansion is more about conversions and full-time engagement professionals.

Tobey Sommer
Analyst at Truist Securities

Thanks, I appreciate that. As my follow-up, I wanted to see if you could comments on your European exposure, we get questions about the impact on the war or any kind of softening there. I know it's small representation, but it's still -- you're still substantial player in several countries.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

So we are 78% U.S., 22% international, Continental Europe is 10%. And of that 10% it's Germany 4%, Belgium 4%, France 1% and other 1%. I would say at least to-date there certainly hasn't been an impact and Germany arguably may potentially would be the most impacted. But Germany had a very good quarter, in fact probably had the best quarter of any of our non-U.S. countries in the first quarter and their outlook for Q2 is good.

Tobey Sommer
Analyst at Truist Securities

Okay, thank you very much.

Operator

Your next question will come from Jeff Silber with BMO Capital Markets. Your line is open.

Jeff Silber
Analyst at BMO Capital Markets

Thanks so much. I know it's late, I'll just ask one. In looking at your technology revenues within talent solutions year-over-year growth accelerated compared to the prior quarter. Can you talk about what drove that and how sustainable that is going forward? Thanks.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Well, I'd say, it's about better execution, I think it went from 21% to 24%, the comps were pretty similar in the two quarters. But technology talent solutions have been a focus for some time. Again the candidate is keen, we've focused a lot of the other initiatives candidate-based initiatives that I talked about earlier, also extend to technology and we've had good results and we're optimistic as we go forward.

Jeff Silber
Analyst at BMO Capital Markets

All right, great, thanks so much.

M. Keith Waddell
Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Robert Half

Okay. Well, I believe that is our last question. So we appreciate everyone joining the call today. Thank you very much.

Operator

This concludes today's teleconference. If you missed any part of the call, it will be archived in audio format in the Investor Center of Robert Half's website at www.roberthalf.com. You can also dial the conference call replay. Dial-in details and the conference ID are contained in the company's press release issued earlier today. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.

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