Interim profit at FTSE 250 recruiter Hays rose 18% on the back of strong growth in its international markets and good cost control in the UK.
In the six months to 31 December 2017, pre-tax profit increased to £113.9m from £96.2m in the same period a year ago, with net feet fees up 13% to £525.8m and operating profit 16% higher at £116.5m.
Basic earnings per share pushed up to 5.39p from 4.55p and the dividend per share was lifted 10% to 1.06p.
The company said it saw strong conditions in the majority of its international markets, with the UK subdued and broadly stable. Net fee growth in Australia and New Zealand and Rest of World was up 15%, while Germany saw growth of 17%. In the UK & Ireland, however, net fees grew just 1%.
Hays also said that its investments in technology were increasingly paying off, allowing it to receive and process more than 10 million CVs a year and enabling its consultants to perform complex searches of its global OneTouch database in seconds. The group has constructed proprietary systems and fostered relationships with the likes of Google, LinkedIn, SEEK and, more recently, Xing in Germany.
Chief executive Alistair Cox said: "Conditions were supportive in the vast majority of our markets, with 22 countries growing net fees by more than 10% and 20 countries delivering record performances. This is a clear sign of the strength of our diversified global portfolio, as we take advantage of our leading positions in key markets.
"Our largest business, Germany, delivered another all-time record performance and we accelerated investment there, increasing consultant headcount by 30% and opening three new offices. Australia delivered strong broad-based growth and while the UK market remained subdued, it was stable overall.
"Looking ahead, the scale, balance and diversity of our businesses, combined with our strong balance sheet and highly experienced management teams, stand us in good stead. The outlook in the vast majority of our markets remains positive and we have made an encouraging start to our new five-year plan to broadly double our operating profits by 2022."