Companies in this industry provide temporary staffing, outsourced HR management, and employee placement services. Major companies include Allegis, Kelly Services, ManpowerGroup, and Robert Half International (all based in the US), along with Adecco (headquartered in Switzerland) and Randstad (the Netherlands).
Global revenue for staffing services is about $461 billion and is expected to rise by 6% in 2019, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. The three largest markets for staffing services are the US, Japan, and the UK. Prospects for industry growth are particularly strong in the Asia/Pacific region.
The US staffing services industry includes about 52,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $385 billion. The industry includes executive search services and professional employer organizations (PEOs), which are also covered in separate industry profiles.
Companies compete to fill talent pools with skilled employees. Some companies may concentrate on manual labor or administrative skills, while others specialize in scientific, IT, or professional attributes. Talent shortages can be problematic, and some staffing firms provide training to enhance skill sets. The success of recruitment programs helps to secure major contracts with large commercial or government clients. During economic downturns, clients typically reduce employment of temporary employees before conducting permanent staff layoffs. Pricing competition, which is stiffer among providers of clerical and industrial personnel, may intensify during periods of economic instability.
Other competitive factors include the emergence of online staffing platforms and other disintermediation methods, as well as the risk that customers may decide to handle staffing internally or to divide their staffing needs among a broad group of competing providers. Companies also face competition from professional business outsourcing and payroll service companies.
The staffing services industry is fragmented, with low barriers to entry. In the US, the 50 largest companies generate a little less than half of industry revenue.
Avoiding Low-Skill Jobs Automation -- By hiring and retaining talent in highly skilled fields, companies may avoid risks related to automation trends in lower-skill job categories. Some tasks performed by people are being replaced by robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation.
Enhancing Efficiencies -- Companies can use economies of scale in back-office and marketing functions to improve operational efficiency. Adopting new information technologies such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and applicant tracking systems can improve hiring, order management, billing systems, and other functions.
Successful Sales and Marketing Campaigns -- Companies depend on successful marketing campaigns to attract and retain customers and skilled workers. Firms also rely on efforts by sales representatives to cultivate relationships with potential or existing clients.
Companies to Watch:
Adecco is a leading global HR services firm. The company is headquartered in Switzerland and has operations in Europe, the Americas, and the Asia/Pacific region.
Randstad follows Adecco in global staffing services ranking by revenues earned. The Netherlands-based firm operates in Europe, Asia, and North America and provides IT, industrial, and general temporary staffing services.
Manpower connects more than 6 million workers to office, industrial, and professional positions annually. The US-based company operates through the Manpower, Experis, and Right Management brands in 80 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and the Middle East.
Products, Operations & Technology
The US industry is divided into three major segments: temporary help services (about 50% of industry revenue), professional employer organizations (about
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms