RECRUITMENT firm Hays said demand from pharmaceutical and City firms was propping up the UK jobs market amid a slump in public sector activity.

The group said net fees in the quarter to June 30 were broadly flat on the previous three months in the UK and Ireland – helped by 10% growth in the private sector.

In contrast, the Government’s austerity drive meant public sector fees were down by 14%, with administrative posts most affected.

Hays generates nearly 60% of its revenues outside the UK. The group said it was capitalising on a strong market recovery across Asia Pacific and improving trends in key markets such as Germany and Brazil.

Hays shares rose by 5% following the fourth quarter trading update.