RPO Growth Confirmed and Back on Track

Since my January 12 blog, All Signs a Go for RPO to Grow, I think it’s safe to say we are back on track with many providers stating that volumes are back to pre-recession levels.  Vendors including Kelly, SFN, Manpower, SeatonCorp, Kenexa, and Hays all reported double-digit total company revenues for the quarter ending December 31, 2010 (Talent2 were for the six months ending December 31, 2010).  RPO revenues were not reported separately, but several vendors were able to share that RPO revenues grew 50% – 70%.

That’s certainly terrific evidence that hiring volumes from existing clients has increased and that many new RPO clients were added in 2010 by all the vendors.  In Q4 announced RPO contracts included:

  • Manpower’s global contract with Rio Tinto
  • Hays’ contract with American Express in Europe
  • Futurestep’s global contract by Cummins, Inc.
  • The Talent2 and Allegis Services Group Alliance global contract with an unnamed financial services company
  • PeopleScout’s contract extension by Waste Management in the U.S.
  • Alexander Mann Solutions’ contract with Santander in the U.K.

For evidence of an increase in demand for job movement and hiring, I point to SFN’s Employee Confidence Index, which showed the highest employee confidence in nearly a year.  Also, four in ten workers stated that they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

What do I think?  Having recently completed twenty-seven interviews for my next global RPO market analysis (to be released within the next few weeks), I can say that 2011 will be another strong year of growth for the RPO industry.  It will be tough, but not impossible, to outdo 2010.  The report will include a revenue forecast by geography among numerous other data.

I’m bullish for several reasons including the need for scalability, and I also think a new phenomenon, expected a few years ago, will finally begin to occur in the latter part of 2011 and will ramp up over the next few years.  Baby boomers will finally begin to retire as 401(k) plans have been nicely recovering to pre-recession levels, which will increase their confidence and financial security.  This will create a huge shortage of talent in the workforce.  Employers should be wise to make sure they are doing succession planning and preparing for how they will do knowledge transfer before employees leave. This provides a great opening for staffing assistance and for all the ancillary services around workforce planning and talent management. The opportunity is coming for RPO to move up the value chain from an operational resource for staffing and recruiting to a strategic consulting partner in global talent management.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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