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Bank jobs return to market.

RECRUITMENT firm Michael Page yesterday said it was being asked to fill twice as many banking jobs than a year ago as confidence returns to the sector.

Banking firms are among a number of firms to revive recruitment plans as the economic recovery picks up pace, with sales and IT sectors also starting to take on more staff again.

The group -with a regional office in Cardiff and one of the UK's largest recruitment firms - said it was well placed to "significantly" improve performance in 2010 amid the turnaround in the hard-hit jobs market.

Banks were among the first to slash jobs and halt recruitment after the financial crisis struck, but the sector has been one of the first to pull out of the nosedive.

Speculation that an exodus from the state-owned banks is behind the recent finance recruitment drive increased yesterday after fellow recruiter Robert Walters said that "hordes" of top bankers were quitting part-nationalised players to escape restrictions on pay and bonuses.

Michael Page said more stable conditions were being seen across the jobs market.

It saw 10% growth in gross group profit in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with the previous three months. Three of its four regions recorded quarter-on-quarter growth - but not the UK.

Its figures for 2009 reveal the hammering that job markets took as the recession took hold, with pre-tax profits plunging by 85% to pounds 21.1m.

In the UK, gross profits dropped 37.3%.

The permanent jobs market suffered more than the temporary recruitment sector. Michael Page said the UK had "stabilised to a large degree", but confirmed that revenues continued to decline quarter-on-quarter, albeit at a much reduced rate of 2.8% in the final three months.

"The global financial crisis of 2008 first affected the banking sector and then spread across the wider economy, affecting all disciplines and locations. While conditions remain difficult in all areas, towards the end of 2009 both our banking and sales businesses started to show signs of improvement."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 6, 2010
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