Firms set to de­lay hir­ing ahead of EU vote

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE -

BRI­TISH FIRMS are likely to de­lay hir­ing de­ci­sions ahead of a ref­er­en­dum on EU mem­ber­ship, the head of re­cruit­ment firm Hays said yes­ter­day, al­though he added that growth in other parts of the world should off­set any weak­ness.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Alis­tair Cox said he was mind­ful of the ef­fects that Bri­tain’s June 23 ref­er­en­dum would have on his clients, but Hays main­tained a pos­i­tive out- look af­ter it posted an eight per cent rise in un­der­ly­ing net fees in the first half of its fi­nan­cial year.

The com­pany, which places work­ers in ar­eas such as fi­nance, con­struc­tion and IT, said it had seen strong growth from re­gions like con­ti­nen­tal Europe and the rest of the world, al­though Bri­tain and Aus­tralia slowed to­wards the end of 2015. It em­ploys 180 peo­ple in York­shire across 16 of­fices.

“There is un­cer­tainty around the world, ev­ery time there’s any elec­tion there will be a pe­riod where clients and can­di­dates step back and slow down their de­ci­sion- mak­ing,” said Mr Cox.

Group net fees rose to £ 397m for the six months ended De­cem­ber 31, from £ 384m a year ear­lier. Paul Ven­ables, the group fi­nance di­rec­tor, said that over the six­month pe­riod, the pri­vate sec­tor in the North was up three per cent, but the pub­lic sec­tor was much qui­eter.

He told The York­shire Post: “Leeds has been do­ing bet­ter than the rest of the North be­cause of its strength in the IT space. What we ex­pect to see is a lit­tle bit less in­cre­men­tal in­vest­ment in the run- up to the EU poll.

“I be­lieve the UK econ­omy is in a good place, and what we are wit­ness­ing is a pause for breath in the pri­vate sec­tor.”

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