Of the Big Four listed but ailing employment agencies in the Netherlands, market leader Randstad is doing remarkably well. Large Staffing & HR companies have shaken up the top 10, with HeadFirst Group showing particularly strong results.
Statistics Netherlands (CBS) recently reported an average industry growth of 11.6% for 2018. The CBS data are considerably more rosy than the ABU data. The ABU Marktmonitor, which tracks data for large employment agencies in particular, reported a sales growth of 5.7% for last year. The top 10 sales ranking grew by 12.2%, slightly higher than for the overall market (CBS data).
Randstad continues as market leader
Last year proved a challenging year for the Big Four temporary employment agencies. USG People NL, ManpowerGroup NL and Adecco Group NL all reported a sales drop in 2018. Market leader Randstad, however, did remarkably well. While its 3.8% growth in 2018 was below market average, this was as expected for such a large company in this industry. Dominique Hermans (general director) says in specialist magazine Flexmarkt: “We are often seen as a relic. Yet in practice, we are a flexible and versatile organisation.” Hermans refers to Spotter, a data-driven sales application for intermediaries, and Randstad Go, a jobs platform linked to an inhouse planning tool.
Big shifts in the top 10
ManpowerGroup NL dropped from third to sixth place, and Adecco Group NL from fourth to seventh. Yet other flex businesses, offering different services in the Staffing & HR Services sector, are making good progress in the top 10, including the HeadFirst Group (number 3), Brainnet Groep (number 4), Timing (following the takeover of In Person), Harvey Nash and House of HR. It has led to a shakeup of the overall ranking.
HeadFirst Group leads the group of large flex businesses (> € 500 million) with sales in 2018 of 893.1 million euro, a sales increase of 79%, largely generated by takeovers. HeadFirst is the most active buyer in the market for brokers and MSPs (including the takeover of Staffing MS and Myler).
In the Netherlands, Belgian House of HR is also clearly on the lookout for takeovers. After taking over Redmore in 2017, Continu (also part of HOHR) took over MTéNV last year.
Medium-sized companies are the driving force
The top 100 for 2019 clearly shows that the flex sector has had a good year. Of the top 100 Staffing companies, sales fell for only 14 in 2018, while more than 80 companies recorded higher sales. Growth was also stronger than in 2017. Remarkably, the sales categories € 20 to € 50 million (+29.6%) and below € 10 million (+26.7%) recorded the strongest growth percentages in 2018. This suggests that the Staffing & HR Services sector is driven by medium-sized companies.