Strong fee growth at Hays suggests jobs market is recovering

Fees at British recruitment firm Hays grew for the first time in two years in the fourth quarter, suggesting that the jobs market is beginning to improve.

Group net fees increased by a better-than-expected one per cent in the three months to 30 June compared with the prior year, driven by improvements in Europe, Asia, and the UK and Ireland.

Notably, there was a seven per cent growth in the UK and Ireland with nine of Hays’s 12 regions in the UK recording year-on-year net fee growth. This is comparable to rival Robert Walters, which also delivered 7 per cent UK growth in the quarter ended 31 March.

It now expects full-year operating profit to be at the top of the range of market estimates, with results set to be announced on 29 August. Analysts expect full-year net fees to by £719.5m, which would be the first annual drop since 2010.

Hays specialises in recruitment for finance, construction and IT jobs. Shares are currently up 3.6 per cent.