Although the third quarter is still predicted to be "challenging", recruitment specialists Michael Page said in its trading statement today that it contemplating small scale staff hiring as demand for financial, public sector and temporary staff increases marginally.

Any cheer in the recruitment market is tempered by the trading statement from one of the largest recruitment companies in the business and IT markets. Group gross profits for the second quarter decreased by 45 per cent to £83.8 million; down from £152.4m for the same period in 2008. Quarter two gross profits for the UK arm of Michael Page decreased by 42 per cent to £28.1m down from £48.5m last year.

Steve Ingham, Michael Page chief executive said of the results: "While market conditions generally continued to weaken during the second quarter, the rate of decline in the UK, our largest country, has slowed and gross profit in the second quarter was at a level similar to that of the first quarter. We anticipate a challenging third quarter as we enter into the seasonally quieter summer period."

Michael Page said it has begun considering increasing its staffing levels after a year of severe cuts. It has seen marginal increases in demand for temporary, public sector and financial employees.