June 7 (Reuters) - Staffing company SThree Plc said first-half gross profit fell 6 percent as it recruited fewer permanent hires, particularly in the UK and Ireland.
Gross profit fell to 94 million pounds ($145.9 million) for the six months ended May 26, from 99.9 million pounds a year earlier.
Permanent recruiting recorded a 15 percent decline in gross profit on a constant currency basis. SThree said permanent recruiting in the UK and Ireland -- which made up a little over a third of the overall gross profit in 2012 -- dropped 24 percent.
Gross profit from contract hires rose across all SThree's markets except the UK and Ireland, which decreased by 5 percent.
SThree said it maintained an interim dividend of 4.7 pence per share.