Hays plc

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Hays plc
Traded asLSEHAS
HeadquartersLondon, England
Key people
Alan Thomson, Chairman
Alistair Cox, CEO
Paul Venables, Group Finance Director[2]
Revenue£5,753.3 million (2018)[3]
£243.4 million (2018)[3]
£165.8 million (2018)[3]
Number of employees
10,727 (2018)[3]

Hays plc is a leading English company providing recruitment and human resources services across 33 countries globally. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


Event to celebrate Hays plc purchasing St. George's Harvey Nash, a Greater China recruitment firm founded by Nigel Cumberland and James Harris. Event held in Hong Kong's FCC in June 2006

The company was founded in 1867 as an operator of wharves and warehouses on the south bank of the River Thames.[1] The name can be traced to Alexander Hay, who acquired a brewhouse there in 1651. It was redeveloped as a 'wharf', in fact an enclosed dock, in 1856 and renamed Hay's Wharf. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire of Southwark in 1861 and still stands; it was converted in the 1980s into a shopping and restaurant area known as Hay's Galleria.[4]

The Kuwait Investment Authority acquired an indirect 34% holding in the Company in 1975, increased to 100% in 1980,[1] chiefly to acquire the property assets on the south bank of the Thames, which were sold to St Martins Property Group in the early 1980s.[5]

The former Hays Wharf, which Hays sold in the early 1980s. It is now called Hays Galleria.

To develop the management team for the services group,[5] the Kuwaitis backed Hays' acquisition of Farmhouse Securities, a food distribution business owned by Ronnie Frost, and Hays then moved into chemical distribution and office support services with Frost and Peter David Thatcher Roberts as CEO.[6] In 1986, it purchased a personnel business called Career Care Group, which had been founded by Denis Waxman.[7] Hays was also growing its business storage services which included the brands "Hays Wharf" and "Rentacrate". In 1987, a long-planned management buyout was completed,[5] and the company launched an Initial Public Offering in 1989.[1] Ronnie Frost managed the combined services group from 1987 until he retired in 2001.[6]

In March 2003, Hays announced that, following a strategic review, it intended to reposition itself purely as a specialist recruitment business and that the company would dispose of all non-core business, including its commercial and logistics operations.[6] Following Hays' change of focus to a recruitment company, Denis Waxman became CEO in July 2004.[7] In November 2004 Hays de-merged its DX delivery network which represented the final step in the transformation of Hays into a recruitment business.[8] In November 2007 Waxman retired and was succeeded by Alistair Cox.[9]

Current operations[edit]

Hays plc is a specialist recruitment group with operations in the UK, Continental Europe, The Americas and Asia Pacific regions.[10] It has a fairly equal balance of work in temporary and permanent recruitment, which contributes to financial stability through business cycles.[2] Hays operates in 33 countries.[11]

Involvement in price-fixing[edit]

In 2009 the Office of Fair Trading imposed a £30.4m fine against Hays for its involvement in price-fixing. The firm, along with five other recruitment firms, formed a cartel called the Construction Recruitment Forum which agreed to boycott Parc, a new company that had entered the market in 2003 to act as an intermediary between construction firms and recruitment firms. The six firms received fines totalling £39.3m, Hays receiving the biggest fine.[12] Hays had its fine cut by the Competition Appeal Tribunal from £30.4m to £5.9m following an appeal against the level of a fine imposed by the Office of Fair Trading in September 2009.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Hays plc International Directory of Company Histories
  2. ^ a b Clelland, Grant (1 October 2007). "FD Profile - Paul Venables: Hays puts its faith in global jobs market". Financial News. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d "Annual report 2018" (PDF). Hays. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  4. ^ Hays Galleria Archived 24 October 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c Wilson, Andrew (7 October 1989). "Hays offer looks tightly priced". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Breaking up the house Ronnie built The Independent, 5 March 2003
  7. ^ a b Common sense will take you far BBC News, 28 November 2004
  8. ^ Hays unveils £250m payout Daily Telegraph, 4 June 2004
  9. ^ New Hays CEO Recruiter, 5 June 2007
  10. ^ Hays recruitment grows everywhere but UK and Ireland Daily Telegraph, 7 April 2011
  11. ^ "Hays Enters Malaysia". Market Watch. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  12. ^ Recruitment firms fined £39m for price-fixing The Independent, 30 September 2009
  13. ^ "Competition appeal cuts Hays fine". The Recruiter. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

External links[edit]