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Hays sees 7% growth in Q2 2015

Hays has released its second quarter results for the three months ending 31st December 2015.


Hays announced that in Q2 2015 net fees increased 3% on a headline basis and 7% on a like for-like basis against the prior year, its eleventh consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth.


The Group saw good overall growth of 7% driven by its European businesses. Continental Europe & Rest of World achieved the biggest growth at 16%, including acceleration to 14% In Germany and a strong, broad-based performance elsewhere as 15 countries grew by over 10%.


There was a growth of 1% in Asia Pacific, with Australia & New Zealand flat versus challenging comparators and tough conditions in the mining states. Asia delivered growth of 4%.


The United Kingdom & Ireland represented 35% of Group net fees and saw 1% growth, hampered by its tough market conditions for its public sector business, which was down 2%. Hays’s private sector business fared better and was up 3% at the end of the quarter.


Increased caution in the public sector had the greatest impact in regions such as the North and Scotland which were down 6% and 4% respectively. We delivered solid performances in the North West and the East of England, which grew 3% and 4% respectively. The City of London and Midlands both grew 2% and Ireland delivered another excellent performance with net fees up 23%.


Growth continued to be good in IT and Office Support, both of which grew 7% while Accountancy & Finance, our largest specialism, and Construction & Property were flat. Our private sector business grew 3%, with stable activity levels through the quarter. However, our public sector business was down 2% as this market became more challenging as the quarter progressed particularly in the local Government and Healthcare focused markets.


Consultant headcount in the division was down 4% in the quarter and up 2% year-on-year.


Commenting on the Group’s performance, Alistair Cox, Chief Executive, said, “An excellent performance in Europe has driven further good growth in Q2, our eleventh consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth. The significant headcount investment we made earlier in 2015 drove a further acceleration of growth to 14%(1) in Germany, our second-largest business, and elsewhere in Europe, countries delivered record performances, including France. Market conditions in Australia continued to vary significantly, with good growth in New South Wales and Victoria and in the public sector recruitment market offset by difficult conditions in the mining-focused regions. In the UK the rate of growth slowed against tougher comparators and as the public sector recruitment market became more challenging through the quarter.


“As ever, activity levels at the start of the new year will be an important driver of the Group’s second half performance and, while we are mindful of the greater uncertainty our world faces today, we continue to see many opportunities to drive growth. Against this backdrop, our focus remains on continual improvement in business productivity and disciplined cost control in order to maximise the conversion of net fee growth into profit and cash." 


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