Hays shares plunge 14% as recruitment giant warns of "difficult December"

Hays (LSE: HAS) shares plunged 14% on Tuesday after the recruitment firm warned of a “more difficult December” and a weaker outlook.

The company said in a trading update that fees fell 10% in the second quarter on a like-for-like basis, with business slowing in December. Hays now expects half-year pre-exceptional operating profit of around £60 million, below market forecasts of £73 million.

The update comes after Hays reported a 4.5% drop in operating profit to £97.0 million for the six months to December 2021. The firm said it saw net fees decline 12% in the three months to December 2022.

Read More News:
Games Workshop shares slide despite good profits

Hays chief Dirk Hahn said overall conditions “became increasingly challenging through the quarter”, noting a clear slowdown in December. He added that near-term conditions are expected to remain difficult.

The weak update continues a tough spell for the FTSE 250 firm, with the shares now down 20% over the past year.