Hays has halved its interim dividend after its UK jobs division posted its first ever loss.
Germany and Asia helped the white-collar recruiter to post a 24 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the last six months of 2011 of £60.3m. But the UK jobs plunged to an operating loss of £3.1m from a £2.1m profit last year.
Alistair Cox, the chief executive, said: "The UK is difficult."
The recruiter's net fees grew strongly by 23 per cent in Asia, but it warned that the region was becoming progressively more difficult through the half, particularly in markets with a high exposure to banking and finance.