Expansion pays off for Hays as foreign fees drive revenue

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH recruitment group Hays reported a 21 per cent rise in second-quarter net fees yesterday, as its overseas expansion strategy was vindicated by a recovery to pre-recession levels in many international markets.

“We have now got several countries both in Asia and Europe approaching above pre-downturn levels,” said finance director Paul Venables, noting an improved performance in countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan and Spain.

Hays, which specialises in placing office workers, describes itself as the world’s biggest specialist recruiter, although its revenue is about a sixth of Adecco, the world’s biggest staff agency.

Hays said net fees grew more than 20 per cent in 19 countries in the quarter. Asia was up 36 per cent and Germany, its largest European market, jumped 47 per cent.

But the British and Irish market, which has shrunk to 35 per cent of Hays’s overall net fees, was flattened by a slump in the public sector, where a 38 per cent drop in fees offset growth of 28 per cent in the private sector.

Venables said the trough is in sight in the public sector.

“We expect our UK public sector business to hit the bottom in the April, May time. We expect to return to absolute levels of growth ... from July onwards.”

Hays, which has more than 340 offices in 29 countries, is looking to countries such as China for growth, pledging to increase the number of consultants there more than fourfold.