NelsonHall HRO Confidence Index finds Banking, Healthcare, Pharma and Manufacturing Industries to Experience Strongest Growth

My blog last week focused on geographical HRO growth per the findings of NelsonHall’s most recent HRO Confidence Index. Today, the focus is growth by industry sector. When asked about expected changes in 2010 HRO revenues by industry sector, year-on-year relative to 2009, the HRO providers that participated in our most recent Index responded similarly to the prior quarter, with strong growth continuing to be expected in the banking (3.9 on a 1 – 5 scale), healthcare, pharmaceutical and manufacturing (all 3.8 on a 1 – 5 scale) industries.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, expectations from the state and local government sectors declined during the quarter. Addressing this drop first (always nice to end on a more upbeat note!), although a few state and local government contract renewals and new wins created some optimism in the second half of 2009, frozen decision making remains as many states struggle to pass budgets. State and local government HRO contracts are few and far between, and have an extremely long sales cycle. In today’s environment, as jobs are hard to come by and the recovery is taking longer than most of us thought or hoped, state talk of outsourcing, even without job reduction, will be hard to pass muster.

Now on to the positive. Supporting high growth in the pharmaceutical industry, RPO provider The RightThing issued a press release on June 1, 2010 stating that as hiring freezes across the U.S. begin to lift, there has been a major trend in pharmaceutical client hiring as organizations begin to rebuild their employee base. Over the last four months, The RightThing has assisted in major expansions (to the tune of 2,300 total positions) with five North American pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim.

And the NelsonHall contract database provides evidence of HRO’s growth in the banking and manufacturing industries. A hefty number of the most recently signed HRO contracts include Xafinity with BAE (pension administration), Kenexa with MphasiS (a 360-degree survey program), Xchanging with Insyte (multi-process HRO), Alexander Mann with Premier Foods (contingent workforce), Liberata with the U.K. Ministry of Justice (a portion of which is for payroll outsourcing), Hewitt with International Paper (multi-process HRO) and Manpower with Techcombank (RPO and staffing).

The continued growth in the banking industry is due to a number of factors. Hit exceptionally hard by the recession with downsizing in HR departments/across the board and in a current state of reorganization, banks are now trying to be more efficient and, in doing so, no longer want to assume the risk of investing in technology and HR staffs when they may be required to downsize again. And there are common roots to continued growth in the healthcare, pharma and manufacturing industries. In addition to reducing risk and becoming more efficient (obviously requisites for any private or public sector organization), it’s also about being able to quickly scale up and down. For example, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a new drug to prevent or cure a life threatening disease, manufacturers will need to rapidly hire staff to meet demand. Swift hiring of large numbers of employees, which has implications for payroll, benefits and learning, is often difficult for a company to do internally. HRO providers with much more abundant resources can more quickly deploy resources to meet this new demand.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall

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