Sunday, January 07, 2007

Manpower and the changing temp landscape

cogs inside head
Good article in the latest Economist about employment-services giant Manpower.

The article covers a lot of ground, including company history, acquisitions, and changes in strategic focus.


- Only 13% of Manpower's revenue comes from America. France is the company's biggest market and source of about 1/3 of its revenues.

- Traditional temp work now accounts for 70% of its profits, down from 96% in 1999. CEO Jeff Joerres expects this to drop to 50% within five years.

- As providing temps has become a low-margin business, Manpower has expanded into placing permanent employees and training/coaching (dovetailing with its purchase of Right Management in 2004). A newer development is training employed individuals who are hoping for a promotion.

- The article references a 2006 survey of 32,000 employers in 26 countries Manpower conducted where it found 29% of respondents said they would have hired more professional staff if candidates had had the necessary skills. That figure was 45% for U.S. employers.

- Finally, this juicy and spot-on quote:

"...once people have been hired, the attrition rate can be expensively high--particularly for the most talented. This owes as much to the lack of training and career development opportunities as to salaries...the leading Indian firms, such as Infosys, have been addressing the skills gap and high turnover rates by establishing in-house universities."

p.s.: Just a thought: I wonder if they've ever considered changing their name. Manpower reminds me of the old Ace Hardware tune ("Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man") or the Culligan motto ("Hey! Culligan man!"). Mmm....discrimination...

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