Private sector helps Hays beat the slump

Recruitment firm Hays yesterday said the slump in the public sector jobs market had worsened but its UK and Ireland business was still growing thanks to increased demand from City, finance and IT firms.

The group reported that net fees in the final quarter of 2010 were up 1 per cent in the UK and Ireland compared to a year ago, helped by 28 per cent growth in the private sector.

But the Government's austerity drive meant its revenues from placing workers in public sector roles were down by 38 per cent on the previous year, which was worse than in the previous quarter and 45 per cent below peak levels.

Group sales were up 24 per cent, driven by strong growth in Asia and Europe, where several of Hays' operations are back above pre-downturn levels. Hays' overseas business was up 37 per cent year-on-year. Chief executive Alistair Cox said: "The breadth and strength of growth this quarter is reflected by the fact that 19 countries grew net fees by more than 20 per cent versus prior year."