The owner of a Dundee-based recruitment firm has warned it expects to reduce its workforce after a plunge in profits.
Recruitment giant Hays is anticipating a drop in staff numbers as its annual profits reduced by nearly two-thirds as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm operates around the world and has offices in Scotland’s largest four cities, including City Quay in Dundee.
The group saw its consultant workforce fall by 11% to 6,900 at its June 30 year-end, with a 6% fall in the UK and Ireland, and said a small further reduction was expected in the three months to the end of September.
But the group is expecting most of this to come from leavers not being replaced and natural staff turnover.
It came as Hays reported a 63% fall in pre-tax profits to £86.3 million for the year to June 30 after fees tumbled 11%.
In the UK and Ireland, operating profits slumped 66%, with the pandemic following hot on the heels of a difficult end to 2019 amid Brexit uncertainty and the general election.
But the group said the recruitment market had begun to recover, with fees stable since May as lockdown restrictions have eased.
It said it was seeing “modest” signs of a bounce-back in the permanent recruitment market, with temporary hiring stable.
Hays has also now opened around 80% of its offices.
Alistair Cox, chief executive of Hays, said: “The pandemic severely impacted all our markets globally.”
He added: “Overall, we have protected our business, while taking actions to appropriately reduce costs.”
The group said it had reduced its cost base by around a fifth since the pandemic struck.
But it is also investing in boosting staff and capabilities across growth areas, with more than 20 projects being earmarked.
Mr Cox said technology was a sector that was “ripe” for further growth, with the pandemic accelerating IT trends, while large corporate accounts is another growth market.
Hays has a total workforce, including consultants, of around 10,400 worldwide across 266 offices in 33 countries.
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