Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) - Moving Beyond the Pioneer Stage

9 Nov 2009
by Rajesh Ranjan



Buyers’ satisfaction with recruitment services within multi-process HRO deals has been mixed. Not surprisingly, our research study shows that around 18 percent of the existing multi-process HRO buyers de-scoped recruitment from their original deal, either by restricting it to technology support only or dropping it completely. On the other hand, stand-alone Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), a relatively new market, is witnessing a fair amount of interest among buyers, given the focus and specialization that RPO suppliers bring to the table. While the hiring volumes are down in the current economic environment, the value proposition of RPO is still resonating with buyers that are looking for a cost-effective and flexible option to withstand the current turmoil and at the same time create an efficient and effective talent-acquisition process that can be scaled up quickly when business environment improves.

This report examines the Global RPO market and provides insights, analyses and implications for stakeholders along four key dimensions: market overview and key business drivers, buyer adoption, solution and transaction characteristics, and supplier landscape. It will help buyers understand the value proposition of RPO through actual examples of their peers, the RPO market maturity, key trends in the market, and the supplier landscape. It will help suppliers gain insight into the buyer market, understand their competitive landscape, and identify the key partnership trends in the market.


  • Stand-alone RPO deals in which a minimum of four or more recruitment processes are included
  • The RPO deals that are active and are at least one year in contract length
  • The buyer employee size is 3,000 or more


This research report provides a comprehensive coverage of the RPO market and analyzes it across various dimensions such as market overview and key business drivers, buyer adoption, solution and transaction characteristics, and supplier landscape. It also provides six brief case examples and three comprehensive case studies on successful RPO partnerships in the market. Some of the findings in this report, among others, are:

  • Stand-alone HR process markets are at different levels of maturity. While the stand-alone RPO market is relatively new, it is quickly moving beyond the pioneer phase of the market maturity curve

RPO Geographic Scopt

  • There are multiple key drivers behind RPO; cost reduction and scalability gained prominence in the current economic environment
  • Overall, North American and the UK buyers are the leading adopters of RPO. Demand from Continental European buyers is also increasing
  • Almost three-quarter of the RPO deals cover a single country only. Regional adoption is on rise in the North America and EMEA regions, driven by U.S.- and UK- headquartered buyers
  • Overall, manufacturing and hi-tech & telecom are the leading adopters of RPO. Adoption by hi-tech & telecom, services, and the public sector is on the rise
  • The supplier landscape is quite segmented from a geography-coverage perspective. Most of the suppliers have limited geographic coverage on their own

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