Recruitment picking up, says Michael Page

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The slow pick-up in the recruitment market is gathering momentum, a trading statement from Michael Page indicated yesterday.

Terry Benson, the chief executive, said: "I don't want to tempt providence but in our view things have been brighter in the UK over the past two or three months. We have had a couple of sizeable inquiries from two large telcos wanting to recruit several hundred people for their sales forces. We have not had that kind of inquiry for a couple of years."

The remarks echoed Monday's Confederation of British Industry report showing optimism in the City at its highest level for four years.

Second-quarter revenue to September was unchanged from the previous three months after sliding for three consecutive quarters. Improvement in the UK, Asia-Pacific and America was offset by difficult conditions in Europe. Having prompted analysts to revise full-year profit forecasts down from £30m to £20m in April when the jobs market looked dire, Michael Page now says it will beat those downgraded forecasts.

The shares jumped 8p to 172p yesterday and have more than doubled from 78.5p in March. That rise, plus the uncertain future, has meant that the share buy-back programme has been put on hold.