A crisis in corporate confidence thanks to the eurozone and wider economic turmoil hit fees at the recruitment specialist Michael Page in the final three months of 2011.
Profit growth slowed dramatically, from 27 per cent in the third quarter to 13 per cent in the fourth. However, Page still expects to post a pre-tax profit of £85m for last year, up 18 per cent on a year earlier.
"Last year became more challenging as it went on, but it wasn't a bad year at all," said chief executive Steve Ingham.
"We're still growing in every country and discipline, just not as fast as we were."
He warned, however, of more job cuts in the UK, where the business axed 120 staff in the fourth quarter. "The world's getting a bit more cautious, so we've got to be careful with our own investment," Mr Ingham added.
The recruiter set out plans to open offices in Colombia, Morocco and Taiwan this year.