Fragile jobs market keeps a lid on Hays growth

Marion Dakers

THE “FRAGILE” jobs market has dampened growth at recruitment firm Hays, it said in a trading update this morning, though it expects full-year operating profit to be at the top end of market estimates due to an uptick in temporary placements.

Net fees in the UK and Ireland were flat on last year during the first three months of 2013, as a 17 per cent rise in public sector fees was offset by a six per cent slump in the private sector.

But Asia Pacific was the biggest drag on growth for Hays, with fees down 15 per cent, or 14 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which excludes currency movements.

Continental Europe and the rest of the world delivered four per cent like-for-like growth, Hays added.

Globally, like-for-like fees fell three per cent. Income from permanent roles fell eight per cent, while temporary placement fees rose one per cent.

“We have delivered a resilient performance against an economic backdrop that continues to be mixed and fragile overall,” said chief executive Alistair Cox in a statement.

The firm said analysts are expecting annual operating profit to be between £112.3m and £122.5m.