Thursday, 3 September 2009

Little sign of sunshine at Hays

(By Anthony Miller – Thursday 3rd September 2009 8:30am). I guess the best news you can pick out of multidiscipline, international recruitment firm HaysFY09 results is CEO Alistair Cox’s observation of “initial signs of stability” in the UK market, “though no indications of recovery”. Otherwise the results pretty much followed last month’s trading update (see Sunshine fails to make Hays) and I’ll let you read the group results for yourself.

Let’s focus, though, on the bit we’re most interested in, i.e. Hays’ UK IT recruitment activities. Net fee income (NFI, i.e. gross profit) fell 15% to £28.4m. Because of steeper NFI declines in Hays’ other disciplines (especially Construction & Property, down 36%), IT now represents about 9% of UK NFI, up from 7%. UK IT operating profit plummeted 57% to £4.9m, as the conversion rate (NFI to OP) halved from 34% to 17%. Despite its £1.4b UK turnover (57% of the £2.45b total), Hays lags well behind UK ITSA (IT staff agency) market leader, SThree, where it counts, i.e. NFI (£170m). I’m scheduled to meet Alistair Cox next month and will bring you more then.

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