Construction was one of the main sectors driving the private recruitment division but overall fees still dipped slightly in the UK to £241.7m from £243.9m as public sector work dived 35%.
Construction was one of the biggest public sector losers with fees falling 70% from peak levels.
The private sector now represents 78% of Hays’ domestic business where the firm made a £3.6m operating profit down from £11.4 last time.
The decline has seen a 5% cut in recruitment consultants in the UK to 2,158 from 2,272.
Strong international growth helped Hays to a 21% jump in net fees across the whole group to £672.1m from £557.7m.
Group pre-tax profits also soared to £110.7m from £29.7m.
Alistair Cox, Chief Executive, said: “The UK market has been tougher, particularly as recruitment activity in the
public sector has dropped significantly over the year.
“The UK private sector grew strongly in the first half but growth slowed as the year progressed.
“Consequently, we took early action to both reduce costs as well as focusing our resources on those areas offering the best opportunities.”
Scottish based construction recruitment experts Peace Recruitment have also reported a significant increase in the amount of contractors and consultancies looking to take on new employees during the last quarter.
Chris Peace, Managing Director, said: “Many of our clients are working at skeleton staffing levels and on winning new projects need to recruit at short notice.
“Our clients are still tendering for these jobs at very competitive rates in order to win the work, therefore their recruitment needs to be cost effective, precise and bespoke.”