The IT jobs market has stabilised and may be improving, says IT employment agency Sthree.
In a trading statement released last week, CEO Russell Clements said, "Although market sentiment has yet to undergo anything like a paradigm shift, we have nonetheless seen recent signs that indicate most markets have stabilised and some are showing improvement."
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Clements said Sthree finished the year with 4,157 workers placed in contract jobs. This was down 27.7% year-on-year but level with the previous quarter. The agency placed 6,060 people in permanent jobs, down 40.8%, compared to 10,236 in 2008.
Gross profit of about £168m was down 23% from £218.9m in 2008 but cash on hand was nearly double at £48m compared to £24.6m in 2008 as debtors days outstanding dropped from 43 to 37.
During the year Sthree opened offices in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Marseilles, and Singapore, pushing non-UK earnings to 55%, and diversification in non-IT areas helped earnings from non-IT sources rise to 28% of total earnings. Gross profit from contracts was up to 57% of total earnings from 52% in 2008.
Clements said the group had started rehiring in anticipation of better times ahead, growing headcount 6% in the quarter, but still ending the year almost 30% down on the year at 1,597.