Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 11:01 UK

Hays warns of weak UK jobs market

Hays promotional image
Hays is one of the UK's largest recruitment groups

Recruitment consultancy Hays has posted a 25% increase in annual profits after a sharp rise in overseas earnings offset a weak performance in the UK.

Despite a pre-tax profit of 264m in the year to 30 June, Hays warned the UK outlook was increasingly challenging due to the current economic slowdown.

While Hays' overseas operations saw like-for-like net fees rise 43%, those in the UK added 7%.

Hays said it would continue to focus on its international growth.

'Decade low'

The company's overall annual like-for-like net fees - the money it gets from firms for staff it finds - grew 19% during the year to 787m.

Overall revenues added 20% to 2.54bn.

Hays said the downturn in the UK recruitment market was now "more akin" to the last recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It said that the residential building industry was most affected, and was now "possibly the worst market we have witnessed for a decade in a matter of weeks".

The financial services sector was also seeing a downturn in job opportunities, it added.

"Currently, in the UK demand for temporary placements has flattened out, and we are experiencing falling demand for permanent places," said Hays chief executive Alistair Cox.

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