Robert Walters profits up but UK market stuttering

Recruitment firm Robert Walters posted a 13 per cent rise in third-quarter gross profit, although it said growth was slowing as its markets become more challenging.

The firm, which specialises in placing people in accountancy, banking and IT, on Tuesday said net fees for the three months to 30 September were £48M, compared to £42.5m a year ago.

"Net fee income growth, whilst positive, has slowed as markets have become more challenging... we continue to invest in those markets where longer term growth opportunities are strongest," Chief Executive Robert Walters said in a statement.

The group's more cautious outlook follows similar sentiment from rival Michael Page , which hit third-quarter forecasts on Monday but said that global economic concerns had slowed growth across all regions as clients delay hiring and candidates become reluctant to move jobs.

Robert Walters, which now generates 75 pe rcent of profit from its international business, said fees for Asia Pacific rose 18 percent, while Europe increased by 24 percent.

Business in its UK market showed a four per cent decline on last year's figure to £12.1 million pounds, echoing similar stagnant conditions described by Michael Page and Hays last week.