- Recruitment company Hays said it expected to report a modest profit in the first half of the year after net fees fell in the first quarter of the year as the impact of the pandemic hurt hiring activity across its main businesses.

For the quarter ended 30 September 2020, net fees decreased by 29% on a like-for-like basis versus the prior year, and by 30% on an actual basis.

Like-for-like net fees in its temp business, which made up 62% of fees, and perm business, which made up 38% of fees, declined by 25% and 35% respectively.

Fees in its largest specialism of IT fell by 22%, construction & property fell by 33% and accountancy & finance by 34%, the company said.

Net fees in Germany, its biggest market, fell by 31%, and slipped 34% in the UK.

Looking ahead, the company said it expected trading in the first half of 2021 to be modestly profitable. 'However, any material recovery in profitability in the second half of the year will require a significant sequential uplift in net fees, and there being no prolonged 'second wave' lockdowns in our key markets,' it added. Story provided by