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Hays quarterly net fees jump on robust temporary hiring

(Reuters) - British recruitment agency Hays Plc on Tuesday posted a rise in second-quarter net fees, after hiring in its temporary and contracting segment grew at a faster rate than permanent jobs for the first time in seven quarters.

The company, which focuses largely on hiring for white-collar roles, said its like-for-like net fees for the three months ended Dec. 31 grew by 8%, with temporary segment jumping 9%.

"Growth was a result of our actions to increase fee margins and our focus on the most in-demand markets, supported by overall wage inflation," Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cox said in a statement.

He also said the company's forward-looking client and candidate activity saw modest reductions in its permanent segment in several markets as client and candidate uncertainties increased.

The recruitment industry, which previously benefited from an uptick in demand for staff from economic reopenings, is now bracing for a slowdown as sky-high inflation and recession fears push employers to be cautious about hiring plans.

Hays' peers PageGroup and Robert Walters last week slashed their outlook and warned that annual profits will be hit by macroeconomic challenges and their China exposure.

Hays, which has a workforce of about 13,000 employees and operates across 33 countries, now expects the group's operating profit in half year of 2023 to be between 95 million pounds ($115.85 million) and 97 million pounds, in line with their expectations.

($1 = 0.8200 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Uttaresh.V)