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World – Adecco heiress talks temporary recruitment

04 November 2013

In 2008, German born chocolate magnate and billionaire philanthropist Klaus Jacobs died aged 71. His personal fortune passed to his Swiss-born wife Renata who not only inherited the world’s largest chocolatier, Barry Callebaut, but also the world’s largest recruitment firm, Adecco.

Klaus Jacobs’ involvement with the human resource service industry began in 1992, with the acquisition of Adia Personnel Services. As a Director of the Jacobs Holding AG, the family investment group, Mrs Jacobs and her family represent 18.43% of the total company voting rights for Adecco.

In an interview with the Buenos Aires Herald, Mrs Jacobs spoke about conditions in the recruitment market.

She said: “In 1996, my husband merged the Swiss company Adia Personnel Services with French firm Ecco to form Adecco. I am now the director of the company.

Q: What changes has Adecco experienced during the financial crisis?

“We still work with people looking for a job. When the economy suffers a blip, companies tend to make cuts and people end up losing their jobs.”

Q: Has Adecco had to make cutbacks as a result?

“One has to keep an eye open and be prepared for when an economic crisis hits, to remain a step ahead of things. If you have 100 offices and can see that a difficult period is coming, it is necessary to reduce the number of offices to 80, for example.”

Q: What do you think about temporary contracts? Are they on the rise?

“It is something that is happening a lot in Europe, jobs with reduced hours as well, which is an option some companies take to avoid laying people off.”

Q: But isn’t this the wrong approach?

“Yes, but we can’t change the way the world is. We need three or four years more to completely recover from this crisis.”

Q: Do you feel those temporary workers have lost their rights?

“No. When you are an employee of a company you have your work rights like anyone else. This doesn’t change at all when you have a short-term contract. The workers’ rights have to be respected as it’s the law.” 

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