Hays sees no end to British hiring slump

 
Marion Dakers
SHARES in Hays fell 8.8 per cent yesterday as the recruiter warned that the hiring slump in Britain and abroad will continue into next year.

“Our markets over the last 12 months have got progressively more difficult and a number of them do not have any momentum in them today,” chief executive Alistair Cox said yesterday.

“That will make it difficult to grow the business in that environment because the markets today feel worse than they did a year ago.”

Hays’ UK business yesterday reported a seven per cent fall in net fees for the year to the end of June, with both the public and private sectors suffering from redundancies and a reluctance to take on staff in uncertain economic times.

Hays has cut costs at its UK arm, closing 15 offices over the last year to take its network to 110 outlets – less than half the number it ran in 2009.

The firm lost 224 consultants, or 10 per cent, in the UK and Ireland in the year, which it put down to attrition.

Banking and accountancy continue to bear the brunt of the sluggish jobs market, and even overseas, where Hays makes two thirds of its fees, performance was patchy.

Germany, Brazil and resource-rich Western Australia delivered strong income rises, and the firm said it will continue to focus on growth areas.

Overall pre-tax profits rose 11 per cent to £122.4m, in line with expectations, on net fees up nine per cent to £734m.