Hays says hiring in London slumped after Brexit vote

Companies reluctant to take on new staff

Hays says hiring in London slumped after Brexit vote
REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) — International recruitment firm Hays said hiring in London fell sharply as property and construction clients were reluctant to take on new staff after Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The company, which places workers in areas such as finance, and IT, reported a sharper fall in first-quarter UK and Ireland profit than that seen in the preceding three month.

So far the biggest impact was in London, where hiring activity in fell sharply, sending profit in the region 17 per cent lower on a constant currency basis over the three months ended Sept. 30.

Permanent U.K. hiring activity had stabilized following a step-down in activity immediately after Brexit, Hays said, adding that its temporary placement business remained challenging due to tough conditions in public sector markets and the construction and property industry.

Hays said first-quarter gross profit for the United Kingdom and Ireland fell 10 per cent in constant currency terms in the quarter, a steeper slide than the fall of four per cent seen in the preceding quarter.

Although British consumers have taken "Brexit" in their stride, helping the economy show some resilience, surveys released earlier this month have suggested firms are cautious about investing, stoking fears unemployment could rise.

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