Michael Page saw its share price drop 5 per cent after the white collar recruiter admitted it had seen a double-digit plunge in profits at its French and German offices in the first three months of 2013.
The chief executive, Steve Ingham, cited a lack of permanent jobs in France and Germany for the fall, which pushed group profits down to £127m in the quarter.
Mr Ingham added, however, that the same quarter a year earlier had been particularly "strong" and that the group profit was 0.2 per cent higher than the fourth quarter. He flagged up Page offices in China, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East and the USA as good performers – but warned the second quarter would be "challenging.".
Page axed 57 staff in the three months, taking its total headcount to 5,042, and said: "We continue to actively adjust our cost base."
In the City, analysts were gloomy. "There is little sign either of market stability or return to growth," Paul Jones, at Panmure Gordon, said. The shares fell 19.9p to 377.4p.