YORKSHIRE could be on the brink of having one of the fastest growing recruitment markets in Britain, as the recovery gains momentum, it was claimed yesterday.
Paul Venables, the finance director at recruitment firm Hays, made the prediction as the company revealed a healthy rise in full year profits.
Mr Venables said: “There’s no doubt that Yorkshire is a little bit behind the rest of the country, but it’s doing much better than it was six months ago.”
Mr Venables said the group’s Yorkshire operation had achieved 12 per cent full year growth.
According to Mr Venables, lots of small and medium-sized firms had been subdued since the financial crisis, but they are now seeing opportunities to do some “catch up” investments.
Mr Venables added: “We’re in a musical chairs industry and more people in Yorkshire are getting the confidence to change jobs.”
Over the last year, Hays has hired 20 people in Yorkshire, which means it now employs 250 staff in the region altogether. Hays has 16 offices across Yorkshire, including large operations in Sheffield and Leeds.
He added: “In six months’ time, we could find Yorkshire in the top three fastest growing regions in the UK.”
Mr Venables said the feelgood factor from the London 2012 Olympics was still having an impact.
“The Olympics drew a line psychologically over what had been a hard three or four years,’’ he added. “The recovery has definitely got legs.”
The only potential cloud on the economic horizon would be an inconclusive General Election next year, Mr Venables added.
Yesterday, Hays posted a sharp increase in earnings from its UK and Ireland business. Demand for construction and IT jobs helped it boost fees, during a period of improved economic conditions.
Operating profits for the region rose 368 per cent to £26.2m for the year to June 30, while overall group pre-tax profits increased 12 per cent to £132.3m.
It marks a recovery for the UK and Ireland operation, two years after it slumped to a loss amid turmoil in the banking sector and worsening economic conditions.
The latest annual results showed fees from the banking sector in the home market remained subdued, falling three per cent.
The group said current trading since the end of the period had continued to see strong growth in the UK and other key markets.
Earnings rose for the year despite an £8.3m hit from currency movements. The dividend was increased by five per cent.
The group’s Asia Pacific division continued to struggle as fees from Australia fell again, this time by 13 per cent
Chief executive Alistair Cox said: “This is a strong financial performance, and we are ahead of schedule in terms of our aspirations to broadly double the group’s operating profits by 2018. “We saw improved conditions in several key markets.”