Recruitment firm Hays reports its strongest quarter, with fees up 37 per cent, and growth across all regions thanks to returning business confidence.
Given the surge of fees, operating profit for the year to 30 June 2022 is expected to be £200m, ahead of consensus market expectations.
16 countries delivered record quarterly fees for the company, as did Hays Technology, the firm’s largest specialism.
Its largest country, Germany, delivered record contracting fees, and activity in Australia and New Zealand accelerated as lockdown restrictions were lifted.
The UK, Continental Europe, Asia and the Americas all delivered strong growth, again led by permanent hires as business confidence grew.
Looking at the UK and Ireland in particular, net fees increased by 33 per cent, with sequential fee growth versus the first quarter of FY22.
Performance was led by permanent roles, 46 per cent of UK&I fees, up an excellent 69 per cent, with temporary positions up 13 per cent.
The private sector, 68 per cent of UK&I net fees, grew by 46 per cent and the public sector increased by 12 per cent.
UK&I fees increased by seven per cent versus Q2 FY20.
Most regions traded broadly in line with the overall UK business, apart from the East of England and Scotland, which grew by 44 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.
The recruiter’s largest region,London, increased by 34 per cent, including London City up 68 per cent, and in Ireland, Hays’ business increased by 63 percent.
At the specialism level, tech delivered excellent growth and accounting and finance rebounded sharply, up 43 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.
The fastest growth came in HR, legal and office support, up 105 per cent, 79 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.
Commenting on the Group’s performance, Alistair Cox, chief executive, said: “It is too early to quantify how the Omicron variant will impact our New Year ‘return to work’ trends, which as usual will be a key driver of second half performance.”
“However, client and candidate confidence remain high, with clear signs of skill shortages and wage inflation. Encouragingly, despite significant headcount investment in the past year, consultant productivity is excellent, and we expect to drive productivity further.”