Recruiter Hays' net fees drop, says more jobs to go in first quarter

(Reuters) - Recruitment agency Hays Plc HAYS.L posted a 12% fall in annual net fees on Thursday and said it expected to cut more of its own headcount this quarter by not refilling roles as it adjusts to the slump in hiring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, which is among the world’s biggest recruiters with big businesses in both temporary and permanent hiring, said net fees slumped 34% in the fourth quarter of its 2020 fiscal year ending in June.

“Conditions in all regions were very tough,” Chief Executive Officer, Alistair Cox said, while adding that there were signs of some resilience in technical sectors like IT & Life Sciences.

The agency, which has already shed 9% of its global workforce, said it expected headcount at the end of the current quarter would also be down compared to the end of June.

It said that fees earned through May to July were stable and that it saw modest signs of improvement in its Permanent hiring, while Temporary markets remain stable.

Most corporate recruitment ground to a halt in March as European and U.S. lockdowns followed those in Asia and companies froze hiring or laid off staff to cut costs and the onset of recession in most major economies is set to add to that pain.

Hays, which operates in 33 countries, said overall net fees fell to 996.2 million pounds ($1.32 billion) for the full-year ended June 30, from 1.13 billion pounds reported last year.

Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Patrick Graham