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Thank God for the manufacturing boom
Manpower is the second largest temporary-staffing agency in the world. Founded in 1948, the company has flourished primarily in times of dramatic transitions in the economy. The post-World War II manufacturing boom and its accompanying rise in the need for short-term labor lifted Manpower off the ground and sustained its early growth. Now, Manpower has upwards of 3,500 offices in 54 different countries, placing over two million workers in office, industrial, and professional positions.
Thank God for downsizing
Thanks to corporate downsizing, the majority of people whom Manpower currently represents are skilled workers filling white-collar positions. Manpower has used recent profits to invest substantially in its own infrastructure. The company has allocated more than $15 million since 1990 to update its much-touted "Ultradex" system, which matches workers with employers electronically. In 1996, Manpower also negotiated an agreement with Drake Beam Morin that increased its client base by more than 200,000. A year later, Manpower began two pilot programs: moving inner city welfare recipients into permanent jobs and providing free Internet based technology training to company applicants.
A new kind of power
In mid-2000, Manpower created a new operating division to be headquarted in London, England. The Empower Group independently provides organizational performance consulting service to multi-national corporations worldwide. The Group was formed through a series of acquistions and already serves clients such as American Express, Pfizer, DoubleClick, IBM, McDonald's, and Xerox.
Thank God for the tight labor market
According to Manpower surveys, there is going to be a shortage of skilled workers, quite possibly until the year 2006, due to a decrease in births in the late '70s and early '80s. The tight labor market is making it the norm for companies to offer hiring and signing bonuses in order to lure and retain employees. This means Manpower is working harder than ever, often doing global searches, to help companies fill their positions.
Most full-time Manpower employees begin their careers as Service Representatives who interview prospective temporary workers and help to place them. The company accepts resumes via regular mail and fax at its Milwaukee headquarters. Applicants can also contact their local Manpower office to inquire about opportunities.
The transient pleasures of Manpower
Permanent employment at Manpower can be "stressful," but "there is pleasure in knowing that you are helping people find employment." About half of the offices are owned by the Milwaukee headquarters; the other half are individually-owned franchises. As a result, the work environment varies from office to office. Throughout the company, however, Manpower fosters a "people-oriented" corporate culture in which "those who can recognize the needs of our customers-both employees and employers-will succeed." However, Manpower is an especially transient workplace; not many employees build long careers there. "But it's a great place to work," says one, "until the right job comes along." According to one insider, the company does "suffers from very high turnover" but for less flattering reasons. "Manpower as a whole is a very cheap organization," he says, "and does seem to take advantage of lower level employees such as service reps. The corporate culture is geared to allow area managers, field managers, and VPs to profit and usually lower level opinions don't matter. Manpower typically does not promote within."
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