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Hays Falls as U.S. Hiring Slows

Published Oct 13, 2022 03:17AM ET
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By Geoffrey Smith -- Shares in Hays Group (LON:HAYS) fell at the open in London on Thursday after the recruitment specialist warned of slower hiring in English-speaking markets in the three months through September.

The company's U.S. fees grew only 7% in year-on-year terms in the first quarter of its fiscal year, "with growth slowing through the quarter," the company said. That was a contrast with most of the rest of its markets, where fees continued to grow at well over 10% in annual terms.

The group's overall fees were up 19%, with the weakness in sterling contributing a tailwind of 4 percentage points.

Hays said its forward-looking activity levels "remain good overall...but have reduced modestly in a number of other markets as macroeconomic uncertainties increase, notably the UK & Ireland, Australia and New Zealand and the USA."

Hays Group stock fell over 2% at the open before paring losses to trade down 0.4% by 03:35 ET (07:35 GMT).

The company continued to see strong hiring trends in Germany - its largest single market - along with Canada, Japan and Latin America, with skills shortages particularly acute in Germany, where fees were up 26% - at a new record. Consultant headcount rose 21%.

In the U.K. and Ireland, where Hays generates one-fifth of its revenue, fees were up 11% on the year amid stable trends during the quarter. Official U.K. data have showed a drop in employment in the last two months as the economy has slowed sharply under the influence of high inflation and slumping consumer confidence, which have compounded longer-term problems created by the U.K's exit from the European Union.

At the end of the quarter, the group still had net cash of 185 million pounds, which will more than cover the 121 million pound special dividend and the remaining 35 million pounds of its buyback program.

Hays Falls as U.S. Hiring Slows

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