Recruitment group Hays (LON:HAS) said its Permanent division outperformed the Temps arm for the first time since the final quarter of 2011.
On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, the Temporary segment saw a 3% increase in net fees in the fourth quarter of 2014, but this was outstripped by a 4% increase notched up by the side of the business that deals with Permanent appointments.
On a regional basis, Asia Pacific disappointed, with LFL net fees down 9% year-on-year, but the picture was brighter in the UK & Ireland (+10%) and Continental Europe & the Rest of the World (+5%). Australia was the main black spot in Asia Pacific, as net fees decreased by 17%.
For the group as a whole, net fees were up 1% on a year earlier and were up 3% on a LFL basis.
"This is another encouraging quarter,” said the company’s chief executive, Alistair Cox.
“In the UK, growth accelerated as we saw improved client and candidate confidence and we delivered a strong performance in all regions and specialisms. Around the world, 17 countries grew by more than 10% and six countries, including Germany and Japan, achieved record monthly net fee performances in the quarter. We continued to see market conditions improve in several parts of the group as the quarter progressed, most notably in the UK and Asia,” he added, while cautioning that, as per usual, activity levels at the start of the New Year will be an important driver of the group's second half performance.
Shares in Hays were down 0.3% at 132p in mid-morning trade.