The RPO Baker’s Dozen 2009 results

September 20, 2009

HRO Today magazine has recently released its third annual RPO Baker’s Dozen Ranking to determine the top Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) vendors for 2009. This year’s survey covered about 45 RPO vendors and ranked the top 13 vendors of end-to-end RPO as
1 The RightThing
2 SourceRight Solutions
3 Alexander Mann Solutions
4 Kelly OCG
5 Futurestep
6 PeopleScout
7 Adecco
8 Aon RPO
9 Kenexa
10 Pinstripe
11 Manpower
12 CDI Talent Management
13 hyphen Recruitment Outsourcing

This year, the HRO Today survey ranked RPO vendors as global leaders (in other words, the vendors who are the most capable of delivering global RPO solutions) and this ranking included
1 Alexander Mann Solutions
2 Kelly OCG
3 Futurestep
4 Adecco
5 Kenexa
6 Manpower and
7 hyphen Recruitment Outsourcing

In addition, the survey ranked the top mid-market and project/on demand providers (in other words, the vendors who are capable of handling multi-year hiring programs but not programs that are on the same size and scale that the top end-to-end RPO vendors can handle) as:
1 Accolo
2 Yoh
3 Princeton One
4 TAPFIN Process Solutions
5 The Workplace Group
6 Decision Toolbox
7 Talent Fusion

Finally, the survey results includes an overall results chart, a quality of service and size of deal chart, a breadth of service and global leaders charts and a mid-market and on-demand leaders chart with a buyer opinion section listing a multitude of reasons why respondents use RPO type services.

However, what do these results mean for RPO vendors themselves – especially given the current unemployment situation? As the feature article in the same issue of HRO Today points out, RPO vendors are still in a survival of the fittest period but some industry veterans are reporting signs of a lift. However, one of these same sources who reports seeing more activity also predicts that real hiring won’t start until Q3 or Q4 of 2010 – at least one year from now. Hence, smaller deals are now the norm and these smaller deals generate significantly less revenue for vendors than past deals. Thus and to counteract the fall in revenue, RPO vendors are expanding the scope of their solutions and are becoming more strategic in their processes and offerings. However, the recent Global RPO Report 2009 by HROA and KellyOCG still found that 90% of users of third party recruitment firms used them for basic services such as sourcing, screening and testing.

Nevertheless, the HRO Today feature article still concludes by pointing out that the need for hiring will always exist. In fact, the article cites the recent Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Today’s Challenges and Opportunities report by the Human Capital Institute and Futurestep (Korn/Ferry) which found that 59% of surveyed organizations are currently outsourcing some or all of their recruiting processes while 50% of survey respondents say that they will use RPO in the next five years. Moreover, with many organizations having gutted their HR departments and recruiting arms in general during the downturn, RPO may be the only answer once hiring resumes.

Furthermore, as another article (Globetrotting for Talent) in the latest issue of HRO Today points out, the adoption of RPO on a global basis by firms that operate globally continues as many MNCs are attracted to the idea of a single-vendor or a handful of vendors delivering the same integrated recruiting solution on a global basis. This trend will clearly benefit the seven firms listed in the Baker’s Dozen as global leaders and any of the other firms ranked who are capable of scaling up to delivering a global recruitment solution. As for other RPO firms who are not capable of providing a global solution, finding a niche or trying to wait out this current “survival of the fittest” period may be the only viable option until hiring once again firmly trends upward.


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