Hip hip for Hays: Strong growth overall despite small pre-Brexit slump in UK market

Hayley Kirton
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Despite referendum woes, the company reported fee growth overall (Source: Getty)

Hays has been pulling in the fees at a good pace worldwide, the recruiter revealed in a short trading statement today.

The figures

The company reported eight per cent growth in net fees on a like-for-like basis for the three months to June.

The statement for the recruiting firm's fourth quarter also revealed full-year operating profits were likely to come in at around £180m and, turning to the balance sheet, net cash at around £40m.

Shares are trading up 6.6 per cent at 115.09p at time of writing.

Why it's interesting

All eyes have been on recruiters as they release their first sets of results following the EU referendum last month, as their figures quantify how the uncertainty has affected the jobs market.

Despite the overall growth position for the recruiter, Hays' results do hint at the turbulence in the local market. While fees shot up in Hays' markets excluding Asia Pacific and the UK and Ireland by 21 per cent like-for-like, fees for the UK and Ireland market slipped by four per cent.

In particular, Hays noted that public sector recruitment in the UK had been particularly tough, with fees dropping eight per cent. Private sector fees also dropped by two per cent, with the company pointing out client sentiment waned towards the end of the quarter.

What Hays said

"Looking ahead, conditions in most international markets remain supportive and although there is significantly increased uncertainty in the UK, it is too early to say how the result of the referendum will impact our results going forward," said Alistair Cox, chief executive.

Cox also noted that the company's geographical reach combined with experienced staff and a strong balance sheet put the firm in a good place for the future. "These combined attributes are unique and more important than ever. At times like this they stand us in good stead, and we remain well placed to continue to deliver sector-leading profits and cash generation," Cox said.

Meanwhile, Paul Venables, group finance director, told City A.M. the company had banked on a slowdown in the UK market for this quarter. "There were no surprises at all in this quarter in the UK and actually the result was quite pleasing," he added.

Speaking of Brexit, Venables echoed Cox's view of it being too early to tell what would happen to the recruitment market following the vote. "It's better reflected on when we've seen a couple of month's data," he said.

In short

A snapshot of how uncertainty has wobbled the jobs market over the last few months, but no concrete evidence yet of what is to come following the Brexit decision.

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