ONE of the UK’s largest recruitment firms today said stabilisation in the banking sector had spread to other businesses but third quarter profits remained down around 40% on last year.
Michael Page International further reduced its UK headcount across the period, to 1,179, but said September had seen a slight upturn in its staff numbers as it looked to increase its market share.
And the firm said it did not have plans to cut any more jobs in most of its markets.
Group profits were £82.2 million in the period to September 30 compared to £141.4 million last year. In the UK, which makes up about a third of the business, profits dropped to £27.3 million from £45 million last year.
UK profits were 3% down on a quarter-on-quarter basis, but the firm said it had seen a levelling in the market.
"The stabilisation that started to become evident in the banking sector is now spreading to other sectors and in most businesses the revenue remained broadly flat on the previous quarter, despite the effect of summer," it said.
Chief executive Steve Ingham added the company always anticipated that the seasonally quieter third quarter would be challenging, particularly in continental Europe, which was generally later into the downturn.
"However, as the third quarter progressed, market conditions in an increasing number of the countries in which we operate began to show signs of stabilisation and, with our lower cost base, we have recorded an operating profit in the quarter," he added.
The firm posted an operating profit of £5 million in the quarter.
Marc Zwartsenburg of ING Wholesale Banking said the results were "a touch better" than forecasts and news of further stabilisation bodes well for the rest of the recruitment industry.