Recruiter Hays weighed down by slump in UK hiring

Recruiter Hays has reported no growth in fees for the past three months after a slump in UK hiring weighed down on its performance.

The decline in UK hires comes amid warnings from industry peers that there are “worrying storm clouds” forming around the UK jobs market.

Hays said that UK hiring fees fell by 2% for the quarter to June 30 on the back of a 6% fall in the fees from private sector hiring.

The recruitment firm said total fees were flat as strong growth in Germany helped to offset poor performances in the UK and Australia.

Shares in the company slipped as brokers, including Jefferies, said net fees for the UK, Australia and New Zealand were slightly below estimates.

In February, Hays said that weaker contractor extensions in Germany would impact the company.

The staffing business also said in January that growth in Britain was clearly lower than before the vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

Alistair Cox, chief executive of Hays, said: “Looking ahead, we are mindful of economic and political uncertainties and will continue to focus on driving consultant productivity, while making selective investments in our key markets to reinforce our market leadership.

“Our strong financial position means we have an excellent platform to balance short-term performance with our long-term strategic goals, allowing us to invest to capitalise on numerous opportunities in the changing world of work.”

The results came as the founder of rival recruiter Reed warned that the UK is “heading for a recession” after witnessing a decline in job vacancies.

The recruitment firm’s latest job index revealed that the number of jobs advertised on fell by 2.3% in the second quarter, with the steepest decline in the hospitality and catering sector.

James Reed, chairman of Reed, said: “Worrying storm clouds are forming around the UK’s job market.

“The largest fall in jobs since 2010 on the Reed website is a clear sign that the canary has fallen off its perch and that we are heading for a recession.

“The next prime minister will come to captain an economy with fewer job opportunities amid a national economic slowdown.”