Recruitment firm Hays hit by falling fees

Recruitment firm Hays said today it has cut its own workforce to cope with deteriorating demand for permanent staff.

The firm said net fees from UK recruitment in the third quarter were down 37% compared with the same period last year as hiring at private sector firms seized up.

Hays said 250 staff had left its UK and Ireland workforce in the quarter - bringing the total down to 2,400. It has reduced its staffing levels across the world by 19% in the year so far.

A spokeswoman for the firm said employees are paid largely on commission and as this has fallen with reduced demand, workers have left the business.

She added: “We will not and cannot make a prediction on whether we will cut any more jobs.”

Fees from permanent recruitment, which accounts for about half of Hays’ business, were down 46% on a like-for-like basis across its markets, while those from temporary placements fell 14%.

The firm said overall net fees had shrunk 31% on a like-for-like basis in the quarter but that the pace of the fall had increased to a 35% drop by the end of the period.

Hays has seen the reduction in its net fees deteriorate at an increasing rate in the last three months and the UK and Ireland has fared the worst of all its markets.

Hays said: “We have continued to take swift action to address the reduction in demand levels.”

The firm added that it had closed 14 offices in the quarter by consolidating offices in some cities, bringing the total number of outlets closed in the financial year to 28.

Hays now has around 227 offices in the UK and Ireland.

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