Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is the second largest staffing company in the world by revenue. MAN's primary line of business is placing people in temporary and contract positions for jobs ranging from manual labor to IT. MAN charges its clients for finding, evaluating, training, and placing employees into the client company. The company earned $16 billion in revenue but incurred a net loss of $9 million in 2009.
Although the company does some skilled labor placements, 66% of the company's revenue comes from low skilled labor staffing in construction, industrial, and manufacturing. The company's focus on low skilled labor and its lack of specialization in any one field translates into lower fees per placement and lower overall profitability.
The staffing industry is dependent on demand for labor which in turn is sensitive to changes in general economic conditions. MAN's 4,000 offices across 82 different countries provides somewhat of a buffer against isolated adverse economic conditions in any one geographical market. However, the global sluggish economy has had negative impacts on MAN's bottom line as high unemployment rates is decreasing the demand for MAN's services. In 2009, the company's net revenue fell 26%.
MAN gets almost 90% of its business from outside the US, and about 50% of its revenue comes from Europe. As a result, MAN is very sensitive to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. MAN's geographic diversity also means that the company is subject to regulations in each of the 82 different countries that in which it operates. France is MAN’s largest market with 30% of the company’s revenues, and also happens to have some of the strictest labor laws.
MAN has five brands: Manpower, Manpower Professional, Elan, Jefferson Wells, and Right Management. Jefferson Wells and Right management are separate business segments that together only account for 4% of revenues. Manpower and Manpower Professional make up the vast majority of the remaining 96%.
Manpower/Manpower Professional: This segment controls temporary and permanent staffing, employment assessment, and training. Assessment and selection has to do with evaluating the skills of a candidate and finding them the best job fit based on those skills. The Manpower brand provides the majority of the low skill staffing that makes up most of MAN's revenues. These are MAN's largest brands and together account for about 90% of company revenues, placing three million people into permanent, temporary, and contract positions. Of that, only 100,000 people are placed into permanent positions. MAN is able to generate revenue by charging a fee from client companies for finding, assessing, training, and placing people into the client company.
Jefferson Wells: This segment offers high skill project workers for the following business lines: internal controls, tax, technology risk management, and finance/accounting.
Right Management: This segment is the largest outplacement and consulting services firm in the world.
Elan: This brand provides information technology (IT) staffing to Europe.
Although the company, offers some skilled labor placements, 66% of the company's revenue from the placement of low skilled labor in staffing in construction, industrial, and manufacturing. The company's focus on low skilled labor and its lack of specialization in any one field, translates into lower fees per placement and lower overall profitability. The most profitable firm in the staffing industry, Robert Half International (RHI), is a very specialized firm that can offer highly skilled labor at a premium. In response, MAN is trying to make a push towards some more specialized offerings. By offering specialized services, MAN would be able to charge a premium and get higher profit margins. An example of one of the more successful specialization services for MAN is the Organizational Consulting Service in leadership development, assessment and coaching.
Other than the US and Canada, MAN is highly regulated in almost every other market that it operates. Some restrictions have to do with job length, type of work, and even when to work. One of the strictest countries is France, which also happens to be MAN’s largest revenue segment at 30%.
Labor markets as well as laborers, are demanding flexibility more and more. This means that temporary workers are in high demand. The American Staffing Association (ASA) survey showed that two thirds of the people polled said that flexible work time was an important reason for becoming a temporary or contract employee. In comparison, only half of the people said that more family time was important. The ASA has also shown a correlation between falling unemployment rates and a growth in temporary workers over the past 20 years. Employers like temporary workers because it gives the company for flexibility in its employment options and it is a good way to find quality permanent employees down the road. An ASA survey of human resource managers showed that 91% of the managers said that flexibility in staffing was important and 95% of those managers said that this flexibility was coming from temporary and contract workers. The managers also cited three reasons the flexibility was so important: 1) To fill in for absent or temporarily vacant employees, 2) To provide extra support during busy times, and 3) To staff special short-term projects. MAN’s core business is in temporary laborers due to this growing demand. Germany has recently become a more important market for MAN because they shifted to a more flexible labor market strategy and is beginning to hire more temporary workers. However, the growth in the labor market is most strongly tied to economic health, and MAN is still subject to fluctuations in that area.
MAN is the second largest staffing company in the world behind Switzerland based, Adecco. MAN is a less specialized staffing company. Robert Half is one the most profitable staffing companies due to the fact that they are more specialized and can charge a premium on their highly skilled professional laborers. Competitors in the industry are: