Hays, which has been hit by the Europe-wide hiring slowdown this year, does not use stringent enough targets for its bosses when awarding bonuses, Pirc argued in a note yesterday.
The body said Hays’ method of awarding bonuses is based on consensus estimates of earnings per share – but payouts can be given to bosses even when the firm misses consensus by four per cent.
Hays paid chief executive Alistair Cox £1.2m last year, including a cash bonus of £180,000 and deferred shares currently worth £120,000.
This was down 19 per cent on last year, and Hays said in its annual report that Cox received around 37 per cent of his maximum bonus. Hays received 94.6 per cent support for its remuneration report at last year’s AGM.