Hays: City job market first to stabilise

HAYS, the country&rsquo;s largest recruitment firm, said yesterday that the job market in the City has begun to stabilise, as institutions look to position themselves for the opportunities an economic recovery will bring.<br /><br />&ldquo;The only area of stability we&rsquo;ve seen is in the City of London,&rdquo; said the firm&rsquo;s finance director Paul Venables, defining stability as three consecutive months when conditions do not worsen.<br /><br />Despite being down 80 per cent from its height, Venables said that the City had seen some modest increases over the past quarter, and that the recovery would be led by the financial and construction industries.<br /><br />&ldquo;The institutions in a strong financial position are looking to build up the best teams so that when recovery comes they can attack it,&rdquo; he added.<br />The statement came as Hays reported a 40 per cent drop in total like-for-like net fees for the fourth quarter, ending 30 June, and a drop of 45 per cent for its UK and Ireland operations.<br /><br />Hays&rsquo; chief executive Alister Cox described the quarter as tough and said that demand continues to weaken across the business.<br /><br />The recruiter said that it had experienced a 57 per cent decline in net fees from placing candidates in permanent positions, with temporary placings dropping less at 20 per cent.<br /><br />Earlier in the week rival firm Michael Page also noted signs of stability returning to the market, as it reported a 45 per cent drop in profits.