Michael Page profit rises despite weak banking

British recruitment firm Michael Page International posted a seven per cent rise in first-quarter profit but said weak markets, particularly in banking, continued to drag on growth.

Michael Page, which places people in accounting, financial and legal jobs, on Wednesday said gross profit rose to £136m in the three months to the end of March, up from £127.3m in the same period last year.

The group said growth in sectors such as IT, engineering and commodities in regions such as Germany, France, Latin America, China and Australasia had helped offset weakness in banking markets, southern Europe and in Britain.

The company said banking, which accounts for around 8 percent of group profit, fell 12 per cent in the quarter, with financial clients – having cutting large swathes of jobs in 2011 - slow to start hiring again because of the uncertain economic climate.