Earlier this year, Everest Research reported that nearly 400 Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnerships were coming up for renewal in the next two years. Wow. There is no doubt that some of these RPO clients will be rethinking first, whether the RPO model works for them, and second, whether they have the right partner. When is the last time you heard as much energy around the number of contract renewals coming up for bid in payroll outsourcing? No doubt businesses change partnerships from time to time, but rarely do you hear of organizations choosing to in-source their payroll functions after they’ve made the leap. I believe this is a key indicator of where we are on the growth and adoption curve of RPO. We’re past early adoption, experiencing solid growth as more organizations see the value in the model, and will likely continue to see growth in adoption even if the economy does stumble again.
Being at this stage in our growth curve as an industry also means a lot of attention – new entrants, acquisitions, and mergers, seem to be regular news in the industry and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon. It is a big part of what happens to any industry as it matures. What does this mean to those involved, those of us not sitting on the sidelines? What the industry looks like today and what it will look like next year or the year after will likely be very different. It seems that most players in the industry have chosen to ‘declare’ their intentions – whether it be to align with staffing, technology, HR consulting and HRO, or to remain solely focused on RPO, through the choices made in acquisitions, mergers, and other capitalization efforts. The choices each has made tell a lot about an organization’s focus, but guaranteed, several years from now, it will be different again. Small players will grow, large players could choose to focus in new directions, and someone will eventually crack the nut of what global RPO really means. For those looking to choose an RPO partner, the gaps between what current providers are today and what they may become in the future makes any decision challenging. Yet, it is also want makes it exciting. It puts us all in the mix together as we shape what talent acquisition is in the future. Watch your step, but jump on board!