Hays warns on profits as Brexit, bushfires, weak Germany hit fees
International recruitment firm Hays on Thursday warned of a lower first-half operating profit as its main markets were hit by economic uncertainty.
Hays cited Brexit-related worries in the UK, the Australian bushfires, a slowdown in Germany and French strikes for a fall in fees as companies delay hiring staff. The US/China trade war and Hong Kong protests have also impacted sentiment.
The group said it expected first-half operating profit this year of around £100m, down from £124m a year earlier.
Hays reported a 4% drop in like-for-like net fees in the second-quarter.
“Germany weakened further, with economic uncertainties driving increased client cost controls. The Americas performed well, with the USA a standout, while Asia was flat. Conditions in the UK remained uncertain, particularly before the election, although the result may provide impetus over time," Hays said in a trading statement.
“Growth slowed markedly in December, driven by specific events in key markets: general strikes in France, tragic Australian bushfires and the UK election,” said chief executive Alistair Cox said.
“Each event impacted markets already facing challenging economic conditions and low business confidence.”