Global financial sector recruitment slowdown hits UK hardest

UK based recruitment firm Michael Page hinted at further signs of a slowdown in financial sector recruiting as the credit crunch continues to show its teeth.

The group’s comments were followed by a 3.5% fall in its share price yesterday, although it reported a 33% jump in profits to £140.3m in the first quarter of 2008.

The credit crisis has mainly affected banking recruitment, particularly in London and Tokyo, with Michael Page’s UK banking arm recording a fall in profits of ‘low double-digit’ figures in the quarter.

Steve Ingram, chief executive at Michael Page, reported ‘signs of more cautionary behaviour’ in certain areas, adding that it would be careful in adding headcount, particularly in the UK. “The problems are confined to banks, which represent 10% of our clients,” he said.

“While we continue to experience strong activity levels and demand for talent, in certain areas there are signs of more cautionary behaviour. Consequently, we are taking a similar approach to adding headcount in those areas most likely to be affected, particularly in the UK.

“However we will continue to invest where we are experiencing strong demand and to exploit strategic longer term opportunities,” he added.

A number of big US banks have already been hit by the ‘credit crunch’ precipitated by the sub-prime lending crisis in US banks, including Citigroup.

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