RECRUITMENT firm Hays saw its fees grow in the fourth quarter in the UK for the first time in two years, providing further evidence that the job market is starting to improve.
Group net fees in the three months to 30 June rose a stronger-than-expected one per cent against the same period last year, driven by strength in Europe, Asia and the UK & Ireland.
Finance director Paul Venables said the seven per cent growth in UK & Ireland – which accounts for 32 per cent of group fees – was a sign of a wider rebound across the domestic jobs market.
“It’s the first growth we’ve achieved in the UK for two years. The growth is quite diversified across the UK... and we’ve got what seems to be the start of a more broad-based recovery,” he said.
This backed up several recent indices showing UK permanent jobs rose at their fastest pace for two years in June, while demand for staff was at a three-year high.
Nine of Hays’ 12 UK regions delivered year-on-year net fee growth.
While Asia and Continental Europe were also positive, the firm said conditions ahead were “fragile and mixed”.
“Several markets are likely to remain challenging and these will sit alongside clear opportunities for growth,” said chief executive Alistair Cox in a statement.
Australia remained weak as the key mining sector struggled, which saw job adverts fall for the fourth straight month in June.
Hays, which specialises in finance, construction and IT jobs, said full-year operating profit was now likely to be at the top of the current range of market estimates. Preliminary results are set to be announced on 29 August.
City A.M. Reporter