(Adds second-half outlook, details on net fees)
April 14 (Reuters) - Global recruitment company Hays said employers had reduced the number of new temporary hires but extended existing contracts, helping it to post record net fees in the three months to March, despite a tough permanent job market.
Inflation and concern of recession have led many companies to cut jobs or freeze hiring, while shifting towards more flexible labour that for now has boosted fees for some recruitment companies.
In a trading statement on Friday, the London-based company, focused on white-collar roles, especially in the technology sector, predicted its operating profit and percentage of successful hires in the second half of the fiscal year ending June 30 would be "modestly above" the first half.
"Client and candidate activity remains solid overall in Temp and Contracting, with modestly lower numbers of new assignments broadly offset by greater contract extensions," Hays said.
In the third quarter ended March 31, like-for-like net fees rose 5% to record levels.
In its largest market, Germany, net fees grew by 23%, although extended pandemic lockdowns in China led to a 26% decline.
Fees from the temporary hiring segment, its largest business, grew by 11%, while the permanent division fell 2% as placement volumes declined. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Barbara Lewis)