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International recruiter Michael Page has reduced staff headcount in response to difficult labour market conditions, the firm said in its interim management statement.The company reported a fall in profits year on year for the second and third quarters of 2012. Group profits from placing workers in permanent roles fell by 13.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the year before, while income from temporary placements in the same quarter of 2012 fell 4.5 per cent compared to 2011. The largest drop in profits was in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa), which accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the group’s income. Steve Ingham, chief executive at Michael Page, said the company had anticipated market challenges given the quieter summer period, the ongoing backdrop of economic uncertainty and tough year on year market changes. "It remains key for us to manage our cost base, principally headcount, to reflect market conditions,” he said. “To that end, we reduced headcount in the EMEA, Americas and UK regions, excluding the annual graduate intake in the UK. In Asia Pacific our headcount was broadly flat. As usual, the headcount reduction was achieved principally through natural attrition.”However, Ingham also said that the consultancy expects “another challenging fourth quarter, with economic conditions and market confidence likely to remain poor for the foreseeable future”.The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG monthly jobs report for the UK labour market said that the number of permanent placements made by recruiters had stabilised falling only “fractionally”.Meanwhile, while temporary hires had risen for the second month in a row.REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “This month’s figures show that the temporary labour market has ‘bouncebackability’.“The resilience of the UK labour market in the face of what official figures class as a double dip recession continues to be remarkable. This increase in the use of temps for the second month in a row could be a sign of optimism among employers, and that they are gearing up for future growth. “The data provide encouraging signs for the economy, with demand for staff continuing to increase and candidate availability rising. However, we know that confidence is fragile and a big external shock could derail us from this promising course.”
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “This month’s figures show that the temporary labour market has ‘bouncebackability’.<br/><br/>I hope he was sacked immediately for Gross Misconduct concerning the English language.