Hays booms globally, though Brexit hurts UK operation

23 Feb 2017

Image: Jirsak/Shutterstock

The Brexit bite has been felt by Hays in the UK, but an overall global boost has seen a 16pc rise in half-year profit.

Hays saw profit rise to £100m worldwide, though its 16pc growth was dragged down by the company’s UK operation (down 29pc).

This has been put down almost entirely to Brexit, with the private sector – which represents almost three-quarters of the company’s business in the region – seeing a “marked step-down in activity” after the vote.

In Ireland, growth was up 12pc, perhaps benefiting from the slump in the UK. Richard Eardley, MD of Hays Ireland, called it a “strong trading period” in general.

“Despite a certain level of political uncertainty, business sentiment remains high, unemployment rates are falling and SMEs are again looking to expand,” he said, noting a fifth consecutive year of growth in the Irish economy.

On mainland Europe, things were even better, with a record return from Hays’ German operations, gaining £39m in first-half profit. 13 countries in Europe delivered double-digit growth, helping Hays to return profits of 19pc, 3pc above the global figure.

Hays also saw improved performances in Australia and New Zealand, though Asia was mixed, with growth down 5pc.

Back to Ireland, construction and property; IT; accounting and finance; and life sciences are all driving the company’s growth.

“There are a number of contributing factors to this, including the resurgence of the residential construction sector and the increasing number of international companies now considering relocating to Ireland in light of the Brexit referendum,” said Eardley.

“In order to meet this demand for skilled professionals, we are working with our colleagues across our global network to attract overseas Irish professionals back from the UK, Middle East, Australia and Canada.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic