- Recruitment company Hays lifted its outlook on first-half profit on improving trends in both its temporary and permanent business segments during the second quarter.

Operating profit for the first half of fiscal 2021 was now expected to be about £25 million following stronger fees seen in Q2, the company said.

Fees were down 19% in Q2, compared with a decline of 29% in the first quarter.

Fees were down 20% in both Germany and UK & Ireland, down 19% in Australia & New Zealand and 16% in the rest of Rest of World.

'Despite markets remaining significantly impacted by the pandemic, trends improved through the quarter in both Temp & Perm,' the company said.

Looking ahead, the company said it was 'too early to quantify the negative impacts of new UK and European lockdowns on H2 FY21.'

Group headcount would increase by about 2%-to-4% in Q3 FY21, mainly due to 'the acceleration in our "Return to Growth" investment programme,' it added.

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