Recruiter Hays warns of more jobs pain to come

Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:37am EDT
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By Neil Maidment

LONDON (Reuters) - British recruitment firm Hays (HAYS.L: Quote) said business was getting increasingly tough in many of its regions and it would struggle to find growth from a dwindling set of healthy markets in a weak global economy next year.

Shares in Hays, which specializes in placing workers in accountancy, construction and IT jobs and makes almost 70 percent of fees overseas, fell 7 percent to 71.2 pence at 1030 GMT.

The recruitment sector has suffered heavily in the last year as a deteriorating outlook for the economy and weakness in the banking sector has led to companies delaying hiring and workers being more cautious about changing jobs.

Earlier this month, rival recruiter Michael Page International MPI.L said it saw no sign of improvement in the job market.

"Our markets over the last 12 months have got progressively more difficult and a number of them do not have any momentum in them today," Hays chief executive Alistair Cox said on Thursday.

"That will make it difficult to grow the business in that environment because the markets today feel worse than they did a year ago."

In another sign of weakening confidence, WPP (WPP.L: Quote), the world's largest advertising group, cut its annual growth forecast on Thursday, saying that customers in the United States and western Europe were becoming increasingly cautious.

Hays posted an 11 percent rise in pretax profit to 122 million pounds ($194 million) for the year ended June 30, in line with expectations.   Continued...