SThree are one of the industry’s leading recruitment agencies. They have reported a sharp fall in their 2009 revenues in comparison with previous years. However, it is good news for contractors as they have announced that the contracts section has continued to do well despite difficult conditions.

In their Preliminary Results report they stated: “2009 was by any standards an extraordinary year and was without question one of the most difficult the Group has faced in its twenty three year history. The impact of the global crisis on demand for specialist staff was as tough, if not worse than the dot com crash.”

In actual fact, during 2009, SThree’s contract margin actually increased to 22.1%, up from 21.5% in 2008. You can actually see the difference between the effect on permanent placements, which were down 40.8% and contracts placements which were down 27.6%. It is inevitable that temporary placements are stronger during tough economic times.

With regards to the future, SThree are staying positive: “Towards the end of the year there were signs that certain markets were improving and that others were at the least stable and, so far, this has continued into 2010. Compared with what the Group has been used to in recent times, this was a welcome positive trend which was reflected in the Group’s return to headcount growth. Whilst there are indications that confidence is gradually returning to the market and this above all else is what is needed for a full recovery to gain traction, it remains true that in overall terms market conditions have yet to recover to anything close to normal.”

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