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Europe’s RPO market: still largely dominated by British and American-made companies

Though companies in the RPO industry clearly have the intention to build a strong European presence, it seems that in reality the scale of many operations is still quite small. And with the exception of Adecco’s Pontoon and Randstad Sourcerightmost companies, remarkably, are either of British or American origin, new research by Intelligence Group shows.

Jasper Spanjaart on April 19, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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Europe’s RPO market: still largely dominated by British and American-made companies

To get a sense of the European RPO market, data pioneers Intelligence Group decided to look at the presence of sixteen of the biggest names in RPO within the European Union. Apart from Adecco’s Pontoon and Randstad Sourceright, remarkably the RPO market consists of companies that of either American or British origin. This is a testament to the fact that the global RPO market is still dominated by players from markets where RPO first came to fruition.

Millions, not tens of millions in revenue

In total, Intelligence Group found 104 corporate entities in the various business registries of European countries that have some sort of link to an RPO-based operations. “That amount sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t tell us much about how they are actually doing”, the company said in an article accompanying the findings. “To get a sense of revenue size, we looked at annual accounts. It is, however, spotty — with just over a quarter of companies in business registries reporting income statements.”

In total, fifteen companies had an annual revenue of less than 10 million — of which six with less than 1 million.”

The data that was available, however, showed that the revenue of the RPO market is perhaps less than anticipated. “We’re talking about millions, not tens, or let alone hundreds of millions”, Intelligence Group added. “We found three companies with more than 50 million euro’s of revenue in 2019 — and a total of ten companies with revenue between 10 and 50 million euro’s. In total, fifteen companies had an annual revenue of less than 10 million — of which six with less than 1 million.”

Half a billion in revenue

On the turnover side, Intelligence Group found that those 104 entities combined for a turnover total just shy of half a billion euro’s. But that numbers comes with a warning. “This is what we found looking for RPO activities in the European Union’s business registries”, the stated. “So while there is clearly a market for RPO in Europe, it does seem to be less developed than the market in the United Kingdom, for example.”

Emphasis on Northern Europe

In total, Intelligence Group found that about 60% of RPO entities in Europe are located in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. In contrast, only 12% of these entities are located in Southern Europe: Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The Netherlands, France and Germany each have over ten entities in their business registries. Given their size, Scandinavian countries also harbour a large number of companies, relative to their population size.

Intelligence Group found that about 60% of RPO entities in Europe are located in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

The density of RPO entities in Europe.

More in May

In May, Intelligence Group plans to release a new, annual report on the landscape of the RPO market in Europe. Last year, its report showcased a market full of promise; one that registered double-digit growth, and a rapidly-shifting competitive landscape. “We will share more data and insights as well as a great number of interviews with industry leaders and experts in our upcoming report: ‘The value of European RPO’.”

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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