Page profits halved by City hiring freeze

A hiring freeze among struggling financial services firms halved banking profits at the recruiter Michael Page in the first three months of the year. Financial services firms – which account for about 8 per cent of Page's profit – axed thousands of jobs last year and have not yet started hiring again.

In the UK, year-on-year gross profit from banking plunged by 50 per cent in the first quarter, and overall gross profit in this country fell 3.7 per cent to £30.6m in the first three months of 2012.

Around the world, Page's banking division – which operates in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore as well as in London – declined by 12 per cent.

Growth in IT, engineering and mining jobs in Germany, France, China and Australasia helped the recruiter's gross profit rise by 6.9 per cent to £136m the three months to April.

In Asia, first-quarter gross profit rose 23 per cent to £26.3m. Shares in Michael Page fell 16.1p, or 3 per cent, to 437.8p.

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