Rapid first quarter growth at recruitment company Michael Page International proves its decision to upgrade its IT systems is the right course of action. The British based global recruitment firm has posted a strong first quarter performance.

Just last month Michael Page CIO Andrew Wayland announced that he was instigating a major IT refresh at the organisation, which will see it replace both its recruitment software and its business intelligence (BI) applications. Bond Adapt will be installed in a programme to begin in early 2009, whilst Cognos BI systems have been selected. Wayland told CIO sister title Computerworld UK that the major overhaul is required to cope with the rapid growth of the organisation.

The Bond Adapt system will be rolled out over two-years, replacing a Profile 7 system from Microdesk. Bond Adapt is one of the most commonly used systems in the recruitment industry, which influenced the selection by Michael Page.

The first quarter, ending March 31 2008, saw Michael Page post a quarterly Group gross profit of £140.3 million, which was an increase of 33 per cent over the same period in 2007. Europe, Middle East and Africa were the healthiest regions, delivering 46 per cent of the gross profit. “We continue to experience strong demand… across all countries and disciplines, with the exception of banking,” the company said in a statement.

The UK represents 34 per cent of the Group gross profit, a rise of 6.7 per cent to £47.1m from last year’s £44.1m. The UK banking sector was cited as weakening and dragging down “our other disciplines that service banking clients”.

France lagged behind the rest of the EMEA region in terms of growth, 33 per cent growth was seen in France, the largest EMEA market for Michael Page, whilst the rest of EMEA grew at 40.2 per cent.

Asia Pacific achieved gross profits of £16.4m, which is an increase of 33.8 per cent. China and Hong Kong spearheaded this growth, which offset a poor performance in Japan.

Although there is global cynicism about the health of the US economy, Michael Page reported gross profit of £11.6m for the Americas and increase of 62.4 per cent.