SThree profits inflate 13pc on contracts push

 
Ollie Gordon
Chief exec Gary Elden focused on Stem
GLOBAL recruiter SThree saw a 13.2 per cent rise in profits last year as a renewed strategic focus on its contracts business began to pay off, the company reported yesterday.

The British-based staffing firm recorded gross profits of £218.2m in the year, up from £192.8 in 2013. SThree’s total revenue increased 20.8 per cent to £746.9m, and its profits before tax rose 40.9 per cent to £29.3m.

The London-headquartered company pointed to its renewed focus on contracts as the primary driver for the growth. Chief executive Gary Elden told City A.M.: “When I took over two years ago, we told the market we were going to change the focus. We felt that we were under-resourced on contracts. Contracts in the Stem markets that we cover – science, technology and energy – is a more lucrative market than in other sectors. So two years ago we made a big push on head count on contracts, and we are now starting to see the benefit of that.”

SThree also benefitted from putting a particular emphasis on the US last year, which now accounts for 15 per cent of the firm’s overall business and drove a year-on-year 73 per cent increase for the Americas division. “In our Stem markets, the US has the biggest life sciences business in the world, as in banking and IT,” said Elden.

Profits for the company’s UK & Ireland division were up 11 per cent, as were those for its continental Europe outfit, and Asia-Pacific & the Middle East profits increased by 14 per cent.

“Energy grew by over 50 per cent last year, life sciences wasn’t too far behind and banking had a good return on both permanent and contract – so we’re moving in the right direction,” added Elden.