HRO Carrying On Despite Slow, Decelerating Economy

Amy L. Gurchensky, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

For those of you who are not aware, NelsonHall assesses the confidence in the HRO market on a quarterly basis. The report involves surveying HRO suppliers from all disciplines to get a pulse on the market.

 From time to time, my colleagues and I will blog about these results. I thought I would take a step back and re-examine HRO supplier confidence levels since the report began.

 As the name suggests, the supplier confidence level measures how confident HRO suppliers are in the future market with a level of 100 representing no change in confidence.

Since the report began, the index has constantly shown a healthy level, despite some fluctuations in between. The following chart graphs HRO service provider confidence levels since its inception.

HRO Supplier Confidence Chart

2011 shows a major turning point in HRO vendor optimism, revealing a downward trend line that coincides with the Employment Situation report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There is no need to panic though. It appears that supplier expectations are now more accurately aligned to pipeline activity, which showed a slight weakening in Q1 2012. Again, the most important thing to remember is that the indices are still at a healthy level.

Despite the headwinds from the economic recovery, business for HRO has carried on as evidenced in the following contract activity:

  • ADP: awarded a multi-country payroll contract by HP covering ~130,000 employees in 40 countries across Asia Pacific (excluding India), Europe, and the Americas (excluding the U.S.)
  • Fidelity: awarded a DC administration contract by the University of Washington for ~31,000 employees; it is now the sole recordkeeping provider for the university
  • Talent2: awarded a three year RPO contract by Bankwest in Australia providing full RPO services from job requisition through onboarding including employment branding, establishing an innovation program for sourcing, and more
  • IBM: awarded a learning services contract by a government entity in South Africa including content development and delivery of learning
  • Aon Hewitt: renews and expands its multi-process HR outsourcing contract with BMO Financial Group for payroll, workforce administration, H&W administration, recruitment services, and compensation administration covering 46,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada for eight years.

There will likely be continued challenges from clients such as stalled decision-making or demands for lower pricing, and some service lines will fare better than others in this slow economy that is decelerating.

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