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."
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.