The need for staffing companies arose early alongside the growth of large corporations and the entrance of women into the workforce during World War II. For instance, three of the largest staffing companies — Manpower, Robert Half and Kelly Services — were started in the 1940s. They expanded quickly in response to the need for large companies to access short-term labor pools.
As time has gone on, the largest staffing companies have spread through the use of hundreds of offices and an international on-the-ground presence. And where they truly excel is in their deep sales relationships and integration with Fortune 1000 companies. But in the past few decades, technology has begun to change the way that people are hired for full-time roles — through job boards, applicant tracking system (ATS) platforms, training and education tools, mobile apps, and more — and while that tech hasn’t infiltrated the staffing industry yet, it’s coming.
Today, we’re seeing the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to hire. Startups are just figuring out how to attack this challenge, but within the next few years, some companies will emerge that are tackling this in a meaningful way. But the world’s best AI engineers may not want to go work for a company that was started in the 1940s.