Recruiter Page hit by European hiring drought

Marion Dakers
MICHAEL Page yesterday posted a 6.7 per cent drop in gross profit for the first quarter of the year, the latest recruitment firm to be hit by an uncertain jobs market.

The firm said a 15 per cent slide in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – where it generated more than 40 per cent of its earnings in the period – had worsened a broad decline in its profits across all sectors.

In the UK, gross profits fell 1.2 per cent on a year ago to £30.2m.

The company is launching new offices in regions such as China, where it will focus less on finance and accounting, which has traditionally been its core business.

However, it is also trimming costs and bracing itself for challenging trading in the coming quarters.

Earnings from permanent and temporary placements fell 7.6 and 3.6 per cent respectively worldwide.

“With Page’s high levels of exposure to the permanent market and lack of exposure to some of the structural drivers that are helping others making it, it is, in our view, the least attractive of the recruitment companies,” Investec analyst Sebastien Jantet said.