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In an interview with German weekly Welt am Sonntag Jeffrey Joerres, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Manpower, said that Europe will remain a very important market for staffing agencies over the next few years but he sees Asia as the future.
Joerres said "there is no doubt that Italy, Germany, Sweden and Norway are important economies, which are still trying to find the right balance between flexibility and security. Take Italy, for example: temporary employment was illegal there until 1998. There was lots of unemployment and the black economy was thriving. Then the government made temporary employment legal in order to build bridges into permanent employment. This is an extremely interesting market for us."
On the question of whether Manpower intends to buy further market share in Europe Joerres said "we are generally sceptical about acquisitions. The problem is that we give the owners loads of money so that they can retire somewhere by the sea. Then we have lost the corporate culture and all we end up with is the client database. Client development is what our employees do, anyway. In Italy we did a start-up without any acquisitions at all. Now we have 400 offices in that country. It is much faster to train new employees than it is to acquire staffing agencies and integrate them."
"There is no doubt that Asia is a very interesting market in the medium-term. In the next three to five years we will see another growth wave there. The population is huge and domestic consumption is growing fast. We have 27 offices in China now and we have an exclusive licence from the Vietnamese government."
"In the Middle East we are working with the Saudi government on integrating women in the workforce. 51% of graduates in Saudi Arabia are female but up until two years ago, women were not allowed to work. Now women can work but they still get stared at when they leave the house at 7 am in the morning with a briefcase. We need to find new ways of working in that country such as telephone work and working from home."