Shares in Hays were up on the FTSE 250 in morning trading, despite the recruitment firm reporting a significant drop in pre-tax profit in the full year ended 30 June.

Net fees in the period were down 17 per cent to £557.7 million, while operating profit dropped 49 per cent to £80.5 million.

Pre-tax profit before exceptional items declined 53 per cent to £71.1 million, while after exceptional items pre-tax profit fell by 80 per cent to £29.7 million.

The group said that it would be holding its dividend at 5.80 pence per share.

Hays said that it had seen a "broad based recovery in the second half" with operating profit up 23 per cent in the second half. In addition 200 new consultants were added to Hays International business in the second half.

Alistair Cox, Chief Executive of Hays, said, "After a tough first half to the year, we returned to growth in the second half driven by excellent performances in Asia Pacific and Germany. In the fourth quarter, 20 countries across the Group delivered net fee growth of over 10% as we added headcount to capitalise on the upturn.

"The outlook across 90% of our markets, including the UK private sector, continues to improve. During the downturn we invested in building a stronger, more efficient and broader based business, and with our major investment programmes now substantially complete, this ideally positions us to capitalise on the significant growth opportunities that are increasingly present across our markets."

By 10:15 shares in Hays were up 4.42 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 98.15 pence per share.