Recruiter Hays put out its quarterly report on Thursday and it shows that education, construction & property, and tech are all booming industries in the UK right now.
Britain makes up 36% of Hays’ fees and the company is often seen as a proxy for the health of the economy — if Hays is doing lots of recruiting, then that probably means the economy is in good shape.
The good news is Hays recorded a 6% growth in fees in Britain over the last three months, although this is slightly slower than the 9% growth recorded in the previous quarter.
The increase was largely down to the performance of the sectors mentioned above.
Education was the standout performer, with fees rising by 12%, but this was largely seasonal — schools and universities recruiting teaching positions ahead of the new school year starting in September. (The quarter being reported runs to September 30.)
Tech, or “IT” as Hays still calls it, is also doing great, with fees rising by 11% there. But perhaps the most interesting area of growth is construction and property. Here’s fees also jumped 11%.
It’s yet another indicator that the property sector is on fire right now.
The introduction of the Help to Buy mortgage for first-time buyers back in 2013 has lit a fire under activity in the sector by lowering the barrier to entry and house prices are rocketed due to constrained supply. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts prices will rise by 6% this year.
Companies literally can’t build houses fast enough at the moment, with builders complaining that a shortage of skilled engineers is slowing down the process.
For companies like Hays then it’s a boom period — it specialises in finding the right people for hard to fill positions.
The property boom shows no signs of slowing either. David Cameron made owning a house one of the centrepieces of his recent Conservative Party conference speech, pledging to help raise the proportion of families who own their own homes by speeding the creation of 200,000 “starter homes”. So we’re likely to see a lot more building and selling.
Hays also reported an 8% in fees globally, helped by strong growth in Germany where it has been investing.
But CEO Alistair Cox warned: “Looking ahead, while we continue to see generally consistent conditions overall, the year-on-year comparators become more challenging, notably in the UK and Australia, and we are mindful of current macro-economic risks. Given this backdrop, we remain focused on driving profitable growth in our business.”
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