- Specialist recruitment company SThree reinstated its dividend, even as it reported a 46% fall in annual profit after the pandemic weighed on employment markets.

Pre-tax profit for the year through November dropped to £30.6 million, down from £56.8 million year-on-year, as revenue slid 9% to £1.20 billion.

The company -- which serves the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, markets -- declared a final dividend of 5p per share amid a continued recovery of underlying business in the second half.

Sales activity and contractor retention rates, it said, had increased quarter-on-quarter from the third quarter.

SThree also announced that chief financial officer Alex Smith would stand down this year, once a suitable successor was found.

'Whilst uncertainty remains, we are confident we have the right strategy in place to continue to drive the group forward towards our long-term ambitions and are highly focused on ensuring we execute on it,' chief executive Mark Dorman said.

'Over the coming year we will continue to invest in our people, data, technology, and our go-to market approach, leveraging the power of our platform to reduce the cost of customer and candidate acquisition.'

'Our aim remains to continue taking market share, working towards our ultimate goal of becoming the number one STEM talent provider in the best STEM markets.'

At 9:43am: [LON:STEM] share price was 0p at 292p

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