Hays sees lower confidence in UK and Germany, offset by US and China

Hays PLC (LON:HAYS) has posted flat revenues and warned of lower business and candidate confidence in Britain and Germany, its two largest markets.

The firm, which specialises in permanent and temporary recruitment, said that in the three months to the end of September, net fees in the UK slid 4%, dragged down by a wearying private sector which reported a steep 7% drop.

It comes as more grim news from the recruitment sector, after PageGroup and Robert Walters both slashed their full-year profit expectations last week, with Brexit-related uncertainty hitting candidates and companies.

Overall fees across Hays regions were up 1%, but the careers company said that the apparent growth was due to a weakening of sterling against the euro increasing reported fees, as like-for-like sales in the period were flat.

Growth in the FTSE 250 firms largest market of Germany was also flat, with Hays citing “broad signs of reduced business confidence and increased client cost control” that was especially evident in manufacturing and the car industry, which has slipped into recession in recent months.

Chief executive Alistair Cox said that “despite tougher global macroeconomic conditions and reduced business confidence” Hays had delivered a “solid quarter of stable net fees” with USA up 12% and China not far behind with 7%.

Looking to the future, the recruiter said that “exchange rate movements remain a material sensitivity to the Group's reported profitability” but said that it remained confident it could weather a storm due to its strong market position, experienced management, and Read More – Source