PageGroup PLC (LON:PAGE) , the white-collar recruiter, said business had picked up month-by-month throughout the first quarter of 2021 with March just 2% below a year ago.
Asia Pacific and Europe were the best performers with rises of 14.8% and 5.1% respectively led by China in Asia which bounced 45% and Germany, which was up 15%.
In the UK, gross profit declined 11% in the quarter, compared to a decline of 34% in the fourth quarter of 2020 with Michael Page doing better than Page Personnel.
Gross profit overall for the group was £184.2m, which was up 2% quarter-on-quarter but down 9.9% on a year ago.
Steve Ingham, chief executive, added: This noticeable improvement in March was seen throughout the Group and was achieved despite the backdrop of continued and increasing restrictions or lockdowns in many of our markets.
“We delivered record months in March in markets such as Germany, Italy, Spain and South East Asia.
“At this stage of the recovery, it is not easy to determine whether the improved performance is the result of pent-up supply and demand, or the beginning of a sustainable trend.
“Our fee earner headcount is currently down 12.6% on the pre-pandemic levels in 2019. As visibility develops, our fee earner headcount will react accordingly.”
Full-year operating profits are still expected to be within the range of £90m – £100mln, said the FTSE250 group.