Hays sees a rise in companies recruiting permanent staff

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UK companies are taking on more permanent staff in a sign the country’s economic recovery is gathering pace, according to recruitment firm Hays.

Hays, which places workers in areas such as finance, construction and IT, said net fees in Britain rose eight per cent on a like-for-like basis in the three months to September 30.

That compared with a one per cent decline in the year to June 30, and included a nine per cent rise in fees from permanent jobs and an eight per cent increase from temporary posts.

“The important part here is that there was a big pick-up in the permanent business because if you go back across all of our other quarters for the last three years, temporary has outperformed permanent by between five to 10 per cent,” said finance chief Paul Venables.

Britain is Hays’ single largest market, accounting for about 30 per cent of net fees. Its comments add to signs the country’s economic recovery is starting to build after a protracted period of weakness since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Earlier this week, data showed hiring for permanent jobs in Britain gained pace last month and salaries rose at their fastest in six years, while the International Monetary Fund lifted its forecast for UK growth.

Hays said it also increased consultant numbers in Britain in the three month period to 2,034 from 1,929.

“We hired more people in the UK business than anywhere else in the world, which is the first time I’ve been able to say that for six years,” said Mr Venables.

The group said total net fees rose two per cent on a like-for-like basis, with growth across Europe and Asia offsetting a decline in Australia. That compared with a one per cent decline in group net fees in the year to June 30.

“The tone continues to become more optimistic,” Jefferies analysts said. “Market conditions have evolved from ‘fragile’ six months ago, to ‘mixed’ in July, to ‘improving’ currently.”