Demand for temporary roles lifts Hays

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RECRUITMENT firm Hays said its embattled UK division had returned to sales growth but that conditions remained “fragile” amid an ongoing clampdown on hiring in the City.

The group said that while third quarter net fees in the UK and Ireland were flat year-on-year, it had seen “modest” growth on the previous three months thanks to strong demand for temporary roles.

Hays saw good fee growth across Yorkshire, the Home Counties, Scotland and the Midlands.

The 4 per cent year-on-year rise in temporary recruitment fees offset a difficult permanent jobs market, with fees down 7 per cent in the three months to March 31.

The performance marks an improvement on the 6 per cent fall in UK and Ireland fees seen during the first half, although tough action on costs helped the division claw its way out of the red with interim operating profits of £500,000 against losses of £3.1m a year earlier.

Overall, group fees fell 3 per cent in the third quarter due to a tougher quarter in Australia, where net fees plunged 18 per cent.