Belfast Telegraph

Brexit finance recruitment slowdown sees SThree profits fall 2% to £66m

Recruitment firm SThree has said a hiring slowdown in Britain's banking and finance sector following the EU referendum has dented its profits.

The company reported an overall 2% drop in gross profit to £66 million in the three months to August 31, while its UK business saw a 9% fall compared with the same period last year.

Chief executive Gary Elden said "mixed trading conditions" continued into the third quarter.

"The uncertainty created by the EU referendum impacted our UK business, and our USA growth rate reflects the ongoing weakness in the energy and banking and finance markets," Mr Elden said.

SThree has downsized its operations in the UK and Ireland, which now account for 24% of the total business, down from 28% during the same period last year.

It was part of a strategic decision to reduce permanent staff in the region, with sales staff cut by 10% since last year.

Mr Elden cheered strong growth in the company's continental European business, which saw a 12% rise in gross profit to £32.9 million.

About 50% of SThree's business is conducted in Europe.

"Looking ahead, the continued momentum of our contract business, the strength of our performance in continental Europe and the benefit of restructuring measures taken earlier in the year, leave us well-positioned for our seasonally most significant fourth quarter," Mr Elden said.

The company has left its full-year outlook unchanged.