SThree’s profits lifted as strong international growth counters weak UK

Recruitment firm SThree’s quarterly profits rose thanks to growth in international markets which offset a weak UK performance.

Gross profit for the first quarter ended in February increased 9% to £78.1 million as the company saw 85% of profits generated from markets outside of the UK and Ireland.

All the group’s international units reported higher profits apart from the UK and Ireland, which declined 7% to £11.7 million.

For Continental Europe, profits rose 12% to £45.5 million, the US increased 17% to £16.4 million, and Asia Pacific and the Middle East was up 5% to £4.5 million.

The company, which specialises in staffing for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries, said there was good momentum in contract recruitment, which rose 12% and accounts for 74% of the group’s profits. Permanent recruitment rose 1%.

SThree operates from 44 offices in 16 countries, of which 37 are outside the UK, and headcount for sales staff increased 5% year-on-year.

Chief executive Gary Elden said: “We have made an encouraging start to the year, with robust Group GP (gross profit) growth in what is our seasonally least significant quarter.

“It is pleasing to see growth in both contract and permanent, with a particularly strong performance in contract, driven by continued progress in our key markets, Continental Europe and the USA.”

Looking ahead, Mr Elden said: “SThree will continue to invest in our teams to drive growth, consistent with our vision to be the number one STEM talent provider in the best STEM markets.

“Our focus on contract and the continued strength of our performance across key regions and sectors provides resilience in today’s more turbulent market conditions. Set against this context, we remain confident in achieving good growth in the current year.”

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