SI Review: August 2010


SI Review's 25 Most Powerful People in Staffing, SI Review August 2010

By Julie McCoy & Jeff Reeder

How did we pick the people on our list?

Some criteria we used included:

  • Is the person powerful in multiple geographies or industry segments?
  • Does the individual command significant financial resources and actively use them to impact the industry and customers?
  • Does the individual have an effect on the world of staffing through policy, analysis or ideas?
  • Does the individual have influence in realms beyond staffing?

In this first-ever list, we decided to take a global look at staffing players, mirroring trends in the industry and Staffing Industry Analysts' own new European footprint.

SIA developed the list, and a select group of internal analysts and experts served as judges. The list fell into two natural categories: (1) executives of staffing firms, and (2) what we term "influencers," those who may not be directly in staffing but have an effect on it with their thoughts, writings, actions or services.

This list is meant to provoke thought and discussion and, with the cut at 25, we've left many great staffing experts and executives off the list. But we'd welcome your thoughts of who we missed and deserving individuals at:

Enjoy the list, and we hope it's part of your summer fun!

1. Jeff Joerres, Executive
In the 17 years he's been at Manpower, Jeff Joerres has helped grow the third-largest staffing firm in the world to what it is today -- a multibillion-dollar company with roughly 4,000 offices in 82 countries and territories.

He also ranks on our list of most highly compensated executives, at $10.3 million for 2008.

Joerres, who joined Manpower in 1993, also served as VP of marketing and senior VP of European Operations and Global Account Management before becoming CEO in 1999. He was named chairman of the board in 2001. Under Joerres' leadership, Manpower share value has more than tripled. Manpower also has climbed the ranks on the Fortune 500 list, moving from 183 to 119. Joerres has an impact beyond staffing. For example, this year he testified at a hearing of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee focused on policies to foster economic growth, where he recommended programs and solutions to drive job creation.

In 2009, Joerres was named to Institutional Investor's magazine annual list of the Best CEOs in America for the sixth time, ranking No. 1 in the business and professional services category.

"I've had a long association with Manpower, starting in 1982 when I was selling to Manpower," explains Joerres. "I have a deep appreciation of what the industry can become. What keeps me in the job and why I remain so interested is the next 10 years are going to have a more profound effect."

2. Max Messmer, Executive
Max Messmer of RHI is well known outside the staffing industry as well as inside it. As a long-time leader at RHI, Messmer has built the company into the largest professional staffing firm in the world and the most valuable staffing firm in terms of market cap among U.S. staffing firms.

This incredible success story includes something that is relatively rare in staffing; RHI has a great reputation and brand.

Messmer has led RHI from a small, $7 million company in 1986 to a global company that, as of last year, had more than $3 billion in revenue.

Despite the fact that Messmer is quite private and keeps a relatively low profile, accolades and awards have come his way.

In 2007, Messmer was the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year national award winner in the services category. Institutional Investor magazine also named him one of America's Top CEOs. Additionally, he was selected by Morningstar, an independent research firm, as its CEO of the Year. He was a finalist in Staffing Industry Analyst's Peter Yessne Staffing Innovator Award, presented at this year's Staffing Industry Analyst Executive Forum.

Messmer is widely known beyond staffing, writing several contributions in the popular For Dummies series, as well as books on human resources.

3. Jim Davis, Executive
In 1983, two cousins and fellow entrepreneurs, Jim Davis and Stephen Bisciotti, founded Aerotek, a company based in Hanover MD and focusing on contract employment in aeronautics, engineering and light industrial staffing.

Flash forward into the next millennium, and Aerotek had become Allegis Group, the parent company of numerous companies and expanding into IT, staffing, solutions and Web applications development, as well as growing globally into Canada, Europe, India and Asia.

Allegis ranked No. 1 on Staffing Industry Analysts' 2009 list of largest U.S. staffing firms, with revenue of $5.3 billion dollars,an increase of 1.9% over the previous year.

What, then, of the cousins? Both are notoriously private cofounders of a private company. However, today Davis is chairman of Allegis Group, while his cousin occupies his time, among many other endeavors, as owner of the Baltimore Ravens football team.

As the power behind America's most powerful private staffing firm, Davis makes our list.

4. Patrick De Maeseneire, Executive
How sweet it is to go from chocolate to staffing.

Last year, Belgian native Patrick De Maeseneire left his job as CEO of Barry Callebaut, a leading producer of cocoa and chocolate products, to become CEO of Adecco, the world's largest staffing firm.

In our opinion heading up the world's largest staffing firm is a sure-fire way to rank high up on the list of the most powerful people in staffing.

But even though his most recent job was running a chocolate company (which he did from June 2002 to May 2009), De Maeseneire isn't exactly a stranger to Adecco.

Before Barry Callebaut, he held leading positions within Adecco between 1998 and 2002, starting out as country manager for the Benelux region before going on to lead Adecco's worldwide professional staffing business from New York.

De Maeseneire jumped right into the driver's seat, heading the acquisition of MPS, which was big news in the M&A world and the VMS/MSP space, as the acquisition gave Adecco MPS' Beeline.

"One of the major attractions for Adecco is MPS' leading technology platform, Beeline, which will greatly contribute to Adecco's managed service program (MSP) and recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program," said De Maeseneire at the time.

De Maeseneire gave us his look into the future for the industry: "The changing age pyramids, the move of basic manufacturing to Asia, the made to order philosophy in the West, and the increased value of having a very flexible workforce for our customers, are big opportunities for our industry. In addition, if you like people, this industry is the place to be, people are not only our most important assets, they are our only assets."

De Maeseneire also held executive positions at the Belgian TV Station VTM, Sun International and Apple Computer, as well as senior positions at Wang in Belgium and Arthur Andersen Consulting. In 2007, he was granted the title of Baron by King Albert II of Belgium.

De Maeseneire trained as a commercial engineer at the Solvay Brussels Business School of Economics and Management and studied marketing and management at Ghent University. He also completed studies in business management at the London Business School and INSEAD, in Fountainebleau, France.

5. Carl Camden, Executive
Kelly Services CEO Carl Camden is passionate about staffing and healthcare reform.

A long-term executive at Kelly, Camden oversees an industry icon, which is still one of the most recognizable brands in staffing, and has outspoken ideas about the image of staffing itself.

Camden, who has been with Kelly Services for 15 years, joined the company in April 1995 as senior VP of corporate marketing and has worked his way up. He was promoted to executive VP in April 2001 and then elected as president and chief operating officer, as well as to the company's board of directors, in November 2001. In 2006, he became Kelly's CEO, replacing Terence "Terry" Adderley.

In 2007, Camden joined prominent business, labor and public policy leaders as a founding member of Better Healthcare Together, a coalition urging fundamental reform of the American healthcare system.

Camden has always thought beyond Kelly to the image of the staffing industry as a whole. "When I joined Kelly 15 years ago, the perception of the staffing industry was very different than it is today," he relates.

"The world of work is changing from both the perspective of employers and employees alike, and the recent recession has created greater opportunities for our industry. We're seeing fundamental industry changes -- companies are realizing the true value of maintaining flexibility in their workforce without sacrificing access to talent to remain competitive, and more individuals are pursuing careers as free agents. These trends will become even more important as we face the impending talent shortage and companies look to us as a workforce solutions partner. As health care reform removes obstacles to the free agent work style, we will see additional candidates embracing the flexible career model our industry offers. I believe this progression will lead to a brighter future for the staffing industry."

6. Frits Goldschmeding, Executive
Frits Goldshmeding, a sailing buff, sailed right onto our list.

It is an understatement to say that Frits Goldschmeding is a big player on the staffing stage. He founded Randstad NV in 1960 (as Uitzendbureau), and guided the staffing firm into a global power. He effectively founded the Dutch staffing industry, and took the company public in 1990.

Goldschmeding was CEO of Randstad until the mid-2000s, still remains vice chairman of his company and owns a 44% stake in the company.

Randstad's merger with Vedior made it the world's second-largest staffing firm, and these days Randstad has offices the world over, from the United States to Greece. The company's revenue for 2009 was US$17.77 billion (as reported in 4Q 2009).

Goldschmeding is an economist, which must help him when he needs to count his money. He made Forbes Magazine's 2009 list of the world's billionaires at number 397, with a net worth estimated at $1.8 billion.

As a sailing buff, in 1997 Goldschmeding and the City of Amsterdam teamed up to jointly build and fund a sailing ship designed as a living, faithful testament to the great clipper ships of the 19th century.

The Stad Amsterdam is 250 feet in length, has three masts with the highest at 150 feet and has 29 sails.

7. Jai Shekhawat, Influencer
Fieldglass cofounder and CEO Jai Shekhawat has helped change the landscape of staffing permanently.

On our most powerful list, Shekhawat represents technology solutions -- including VMS and MSPs -- that have had a huge impact on staffing. According to SIA's latest statistics, with 63% of companies using some sort of VMS/MSP in 2009, the effect on the industry is undeniable.

To cap it off, in our upcoming VMS/MSP landscape survey, Fieldglass comes in as the number one player in the space. Say what you will about VMS/MSP, Shekhawat has gone from a pioneer in the space to a veteran still committed to the vendor management idea.

As one of our judges put it in nominating Shekhawat, "He has stayed true to his initial vision of human capital software as a service, and made few enemies along the way, as he's used the staffing channel in a win/win/win scenario, for himself, the suppliers and the end-user customer."

Shekhawat told us, "I began my career as a programmer, working on contract.The next stage of my career, I worked at a supplier where the company did offshore development and IT services to customers in Detroit and large customers in North America. I actually feel a deep appreciation of the supply-side of this business, for the staffing firms. We feel a large part of our role is to help staffing suppliers do the best they can on behalf of their customers. That may not be something that comes through when people think of VMS. We have stayed true to our roots as a VMS. I think the MPS should be handled by the staffing industry."

Under his leadership, Fieldglass received a Stevie Award for "Most Innovative Company in North America" in 2007.

Shekhawat is a two-time Supply & Demand Chain Executive "Pro to Know" and currently serves on the Mayor's Council of Technology Advisors (MCTA) for the City of Chicago.

8. Barry Asin, Influencer
OK, we might be just a little bit biased (Staffing Industry Analysts is also the publisher of this magazine), but as leader of Staffing Industry Analysts -- the only analyst firm devoted exclusively to research and editorial coverage of the staffing industry and contingent labor -- Barry Asin has a powerful role in shaping the strategic thinking of industry leaders, investors and buyers.

A leading authority on contingent labor management issues, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and his expertise is quoted in major business and industry publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Inc. magazine, and USA Today, among others. His annual state-of-the-industry keynote at the Executive Forum is keenly anticipated and eagerly parsed.

Asin has been with the company since 2003, most recently as chief analyst and managing executive, where he led the team responsible for SIA's award-winning research and content. In January 2010, Asin was appointed president of Staffing Industry Analysts, with overall responsibility for the company's strategy, operations and growth, both in the United States and globally.

Prior to joining SIA, Asin spent nearly 12 years as a senior executive at global staffing leader Adecco SA. Before Adecco, he held operations management positions with Pepsico, and he began his professional career with Andersen Consulting, the predecessor of Accenture.

Characteristically modest, and sensitive to possible perception of bias, Asin was reluctant to be nominated -- but a list of this nature would be incomplete without him.

9. Duff Hall, Influencer
Duff Hall, senior procurement manager of Microsoft, is on our most powerful list representing the buyers of staffing services.

Microsoft is also a member of Staffing Industry Analyst's Contingent Workforce Strategies Council. Duff Hall manages Microsoft's U.S. Temporary Staffing (branded as Talent Source) and independent contractor compliance programs, and is leading multiple global initiatives targeted to drive greater oversight for Microsoft's overall contingent workforce.

It is estimated by the Seattle Times that Microsoft outsources about half their workforce, anywhere between 70,000 to 80,000 workers. These fall into broad categories of vendors and "others."

Control of such a huge contingent workforce would be enough to put Hall on our list, but there are other factors, too.

Says Staffing Industry Analysts' Bryan Pena, director, Contingent Workforce Strategies and Research, "Like many IT companies Microsoft uses a lot of contingent resources in developing [its] new products and services, but what makes [its] overall workforce unique is [its] incredibly high ratio of contingent employees to permanent. The average company has 13% contingent worker penetration; Microsoft has almost 50% of its workforce as contingent. While not all of this spend is under Duff's umbrella -- yet -- MSFT is most definitely on the cutting edge of the new workforce model."

But that's not all. In 2008, Hall led the implementation of the U.S. Talent Source program, which moved Microsoft's U.S. Temporary Staffing program into a MSP/VMS model. This is another powerful trend that has had a serious impact on staffing over the last decade.

Hall has been at Microsoft for five years.

10. Dave Dunkel, Executive
He isn't in the pizza business, but Dave Dunkel sure does make a lot of dough. In fact, the CEO of Tampa-based Kforce is the third-highest compensated executive in the staffing industry, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. Dunkel is dynamic and innovative, with a loyal following at Kforce.

But Dunkel brings more than his salary and company reputation to this list. He was one of the first staffing executives who tried to blow up the traditional staffing model, going with "clicks" over "bricks" when most staffing firms didn't even have their own Websites. That radical business change had a mixed result, but proved Dunkel a visionary, especially if you look at the rise of the virtual workforce and, of course, B2B over the Internet today.

Kforce has continued to innovate, with its own National Recruiting Center in Tampa FL, an acquisition that boosted its presence in government staffing, a support center in Manila and acting as the holder of 1800 H1B visas.

Dunkel has served as chairman and CEO of Kforce since the company's inception in 1984. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Romac-FMA, one of Kforce's predecessors, for 14 years. He also worked as an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, formerly Coopers & Lybrand.

11. Keith Waddell, Executive
Keith Waddell has served as president of Robert Half International since 2004 and CFO of the company since 1988. But being president of one of the world's largest professional staffing firms isn't the only reason Waddell is on this list. In addition, he has led some of RHI's greatest advances.

For example, he served as president of Protiviti, which became a hugely successful arm of RHI in the heyday of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Protiviti came into being in May 2002 when RHI made a deal with Arthur Andersen LLP to hire more than 700 professionals from the firm's U.S. internal audit and business risk consulting practices. Since that beginning, Protiviti now employs 2,500 professionals in more than 60 locations worldwide.

Waddell has gained the respect of peers and observers by his operations expertise and vision. Says one of our judges, "Waddell has keen insight and the ability to take risks/see around the corner in order to maintain the company's high-end boutique status and therefore margins at RHI over all these years."

12. Garry Mathiason, Influencer
Garry Mathiason, vice chair and shareholder at Littler Mendelson, has personally supervised the firm's attorneys on its contingent workforce employment practice, and has been very vocal at promoting the idea of contingent work.

Littler Mendelson is the nation's leading employment law firm, and Mathiason is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to employment law. As such, he has powerful influence not just in the contingent sphere but also in the world of work.

"When I started at Littler, there were four or five attorneys," says Mathiason, who has been with the firm 38 years. "Now there are 800. We've gone from a dot on the map to cover the entire United States and 100 other countries. Our clientele cover at least 10% of the U.S. workforce. We actually are able to see problems as they develop in the workplace, propose solutions and actually develop and implement them. ... We decided to be the first law firm in the world that has actually created a practice group that's focused on contingent workers. Our objective is to bridge the gap between old laws, new workforce."

In April of last year, Mathiason was lead author of a study on the future of work, which predicted that 50% of new jobs coming out of the downturn would be contingent in nature. The report recommended 12 steps staffing buyers could take, including forging relationships with contingent workforce providers.

The report had a big impact and is frequently quoted. Mathiason is clearly helping bridge the existing gap between staffing companies and their clients.

In 1998, Mathiason created ELT, Inc. (Employment Law Learning Technology), which provides online compliance learning to employees and managers. More than 2,000 corporations use ELT, which grew 40% in 2009, according to Mathiason. "That's in the worst recession in seven years," he says.

Mathiason has been interviewed and quoted on employment topics in a variety of well-known and well-respected national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, Newsweek and Time. Additionally, he has been a frequent lecturer and writer for ALI-ABA, Practicing Law Institute, the U.S. and California Chambers of Commerce, The Corporate Counsel Institute, The Conference Board, Society for Human Resources and the American Management Association.

The National Law Journal named Mathiason one of the 100 most influential attorneys in the nation. He is listed in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 editions of The Best Lawyers in America. In 2008, Human Resource Executive recognized him as one of the nation's Top 10 Most Powerful Attorneys. He is a fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

13. Richard Wahlquist, Influencer
Every day Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association, is out there speaking on behalf of, and fighting and advocating for, the staffing industry. Especially when it comes to legal and legislative issues and the industry's image and perception, Wahlquist and his organization work to make sure the voice and perspective of those in staffing is heard.

Wahlquist told SI Review, "I feel very fortunate to be able to represent and -- with our board, members, and staff -- help advance the interests of our industry. I am excited about the industry's future and the increasingly important role we will play as our industry develops and delivers new and innovative employment services and solutions that will bring about even higher levels of efficiency and productivity to our clients and a higher quality of life to the millions of people that we place and employ every day."

Wahlquist, who has been with ASA since 1990 and in his current position since 1998, is the association's primary spokesman and is responsible for its overall direction and performance.

From 1980 to 1989, Wahlquist directed the government affairs department of Kelly Services at its corporate headquarters in Troy MI. During that time he developed legislative and regulatory monitoring systems for the staffing industry, coordinated industry lobbying efforts and testified on behalf of the industry at the federal level and in 35 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Wahlquist speaks regularly before business groups on employment issues and trends and has been a lecturer in Europe, South America, South Africa and Japan. He was recognized by Human Resources Outsourcing Today magazine as one of the 100 Superstars of HR Outsourcing and by Recruiter Magazine as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the staffing and recruiting industry.

14. Azim Premji, Influencer
Indian business tycoon and philanthropist Azim Premji is founder and chairman of Wipro Ltd., a group company that holds Wipro Technologies, one of India's largest software outsourcing companies that rode the wave of offshoring and outsourcing to heady heights.

IT staffing and the world of work is heavily influenced by the offshore trend, and no one had done more to drive that trend than Wipro and Azim.

The story of Premji's transformation of his father's company, which dealt in hydrogenated oils, into the diversified superpower it is today, is legendary in India.

Under Premji's leadership, Wipro has grown from $2.5 million in revenue to the current $6 billion company. Premji, who is responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the world's fastest-growing companies, was recognized by Business Week as one of the "Greatest Entrepreneurs."

Premji has driven outsourcing, and outsourcing has driven global business, but his impact on life outside the business world may perhaps be even greater. Premji is often referred to as the Indian Bill Gates, as he has set up a foundation of his own and plans to give most of his wealth to philanthropic causes during his own lifetime. As of 2010, Forbes lists him as the second-richest Indian with personal wealth of $17 billion. That makes him number 28 in the world.

In 2009, Premji was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Middletown CT for his outstanding philanthropic work. He also was voted one of the 20 Most Powerful Men in the World by Asia Week in 2000.

15. Andrew Steinerman, Influencer
Andrew Steinerman has been following the business services space, including staffing, as an analyst for 15 years, first at Solomon Brothers, then with Bear Stearns and in the last several years with JPMorgan.

During that time he's racked up a stellar record, coming in as the top business service analyst for the last five consecutive years, according to Institutional Investor magazine.

And he's a five-star analyst according to StarMine, which measures analyst recommendation performance on a 1--5 star scale, representing the return performance of analysts' recommendations relative to their peers.

His Steinerman's Staffing Study is widely read both inside and outside the industry.

"I love speaking to end users," says Steinerman. "I really enjoy researching the industry. In a lot of ways, I think of myself as a labor and education analyst. I like being the research analyst. I'm glad people find my research helpful. I work hard to make sure I keep a balance between my home and work life and it works well. I have a wife who is very supportive of my job and kids who are intrigued by my research in the stock market."

16. Rosaleen Blair, Influencer
The Dublin, Ireland-born Rosaleen Blair has gone from nannies to champagne -- literally.

Her story is well-known in the UK. She started out with a small nanny placement business, and is now the CEO of London-based RPO specialists Alexander Mann Solutions, and dubbed "the outsourcing queen" by the UK's The Sunday Times.

Blair started Alexander Mann Solutions, part of the Alexander Mann Group, in 1996. Alexander Mann Solutions, which now represents the entire company and not just a division, has offices worldwide, including in New York.

"She basically invented RPO in the UK," says one of our judges, John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts' general manager, Europe. Where does the champagne come in? In 2007, Blair won Britain's biggest award for women professionals, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year.

The award has been given since 1972 and, according to the award description, "Each year tells the story of inspiring women who are high achievers in business life. Their stories are an encouragement and motivation to younger, aspiring women."

According to London's Daily Telegraph, who profiled Blair when she won the award, she is "... vivacious, fiercely competitive and not afraid to be tagged 'touchy-feely.'"

Her story is indeed inspiring.

Blair has built a business with revenue of 350 million pounds a year that is employing 1,000 people in over 60 countries. Under her leadership, AMS continues to grow rapidly.

Blair is truly a woman on the go. She has this to say about making our list: "I am honored to be included in this group. I'm passionate in my belief that people are the foundation for business success. The dramatic and continued growth of Alexander Mann Solutions and the industry in which we operate is testament to the number of organizations that also believe in the benefit of world-class talent and resourcing solutions."

17. Mark S. Marcon, Influencer
Marcon is a senior research analyst at R.W. Baird, where he covers human capital services. His regular reports on employment in general and specifically the contingent space are read by anyone looking for tea-leaves about employment and the economy, and in these uncertain times, that's a lot of people.

He tells us, "It has been tremendously satisfying to observe the industry grow, evolve, and mature over the last fifteen years. The industry has become more sophisticated and global with a wider range of offerings serving a wider range of industries and professions."

Marcon continues, "While the cycle will influence short-term demand, the industry appears to be poised for longer-term secular growth as companies seek even greater levels of flexibility to deal with economic and technological change. In my opinion, it will be important for industry participants to continue to remind policymakers that it is an instrument for social good, both in terms of improving economic efficiency, and helping to move people from a state of unemployment to employment."

Prior to joining Baird in 2005, Marcon was at Wachovia Securities for seven years, where he was a senior business services analyst specializing in the human solutions sector. He also was an analyst for four years at Cleary Gull Reiland & McDevitt, covering the staffing, PEO and retail industries. Marcon has a BA in economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Marcon has been named a Forbes Blue Chip Analyst for the last three years in a row, and was cited as making the third best bullish call of all analysts in 2010. He was named an Institutional Investor All-America runner-up in 2008 and 2009. Additionally, he was named a Financial Times/StarMine award winner in 2010 and 2009 and was a StarMine award winner in 2001. He has been ranked in the top five for both stock picking and EPS accuracy by

18. Jeff Silber, Influencer
Jeff Silber is a managing director and senior analyst in BMO Capital Markets' equity research group, covering the business and professional services industry, including the staffing and healthcare staffing sectors.

He publishes a periodic industry report, the widely read and respected Staffing Indicator.

Silber had this to say about the industry he has followed for nearly 14 years: "I have become keenly aware of the value the industry provides to the economy and society in general. I believe this role will only increase in importance in the coming years, as more firms and employees realize the benefits of using the services of staffing providers."

His research has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal's Best on the Street Analysts Survey, the Institutional Investor All-American Research Team, the top analysts list, the Reuters survey of small- and mid-cap fund managers and the

All-Star Analyst team.

19. Lynn Rossman Faris, Influencer
An attorney at Leonard Carder, LLP, Lynn Rossman Faris specializes in wage and hour and prevailing wage litigation, labor arbitration and advice. If you've never heard of her, you are not alone. You should have heard of her, though, because she is the co-lead counsel in the ongoing "Fedex" lawsuit, which will have a huge impact on classification of employees.

This is the multidistrict litigation entitled In Re FedEx Ground Package System Inc. Employment Practices Litigation, a centralized proceeding involving 60 cases, a nationwide class of 27,000 FedEx Ground drivers.

In the most recent news on this case, a U.S. district judge issued a summary judgment ruling on May 28 that FedEx Ground and home delivery drivers in Illinois are employees and not independent contractors, under the Illinois Wage Act.

It was the first such summary judgment ruling in the complex FedEx Ground litigation over the classification of drivers as independent contractors, according to law firm Leonard Carder LLP.

"It's a very important step, but it's not the end of the road," said Faris.

Faris had previous success around the areas of employee misclassification. She successfully litigated the case of Estrada v. FedEx Ground, through a nine-week trial and appellate victory in California, which resulted in a $27 million judgment.

"She scares so many [companies] away from ICs, and drives them to use staffing companies, that she's good for the industry," says one of our judges, only half joking.

20. Dan Pink, Influencer
Dan Pink is an author and thought leader. His first book, Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself, was a clarion call to independent workers and contingents and a jolt to the world of work. It became a Washington Post bestseller that Publishers Weekly says "has become a cornerstone of employee-management relations."

Pink has spoken at SIA's Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit before (in 2006) and will keynote again this year, speaking about his ideas in his most recent books, The New York Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. He has always had provocative and interesting ideas about contingent work and its role in driving workforce changes, and as such has had an impact on how business leaders think of staffing.

One of his central tenets has always been: "Organizations need talent more than talent needs organizations."

In a recent interview, Pink told us what he thought motivated temporary employees: "I think that carrying out a company's goals isn't that germane for temporary employees. I think that people would be motivated by a sense of purpose within a particular project that they're working on. But I think that autonomy and mastery are hugely important."

Summing up, Pink says, "I've been watching the staffing industry for more than a decade now -- and it amazes me how vital it has become to the entire ecosystem of work. It both reflects and has shaped some fundamental changes in how companies organize themselves and how individuals earn a living and contribute to the world."

His articles on business and technology appear in many publications, including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He has provided analysis of business trends on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR and other networks in the United States and abroad.

21. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Influencer
Indian industrialist and software engineer Kris Gopalakrishnan is one of the seven founders of Infosys Technologies, an Indian-based global consulting and IT services company that has served to change the face of IT staffing, drive outsourcing and indeed reengineer the world of work.

The company leveraged the insatiable appetite for outsourcing computer programming and other IT services to become a major player.

Gopalakrishnan, along with N.R. Narayana Murthy and five others, founded Infosys in 1981. He held numerous positions within the company before becoming CEO in June 2007.

Infosys was the first Indian company added to the Nasdaq-100 Index, in 2006. At that time Gopalakrishnan said, "The Indian economy is growing fast and leading global growth. Being a global company headquartered in India, our inclusion in the Nasdaq-100 Index is a great recognition not only for Infosys but [also] for the whole country."

Gopalakrishnan is recognized as a global thought leader. Thinkers 50 selected him for its elite list of global business management thought leaders.

He is chairman of the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM) and vice chairman of the board for Information Technology Education Standards (BITES).

22. Susan Houseman, Influencer
Susan Houseman is a researcher and economist who has followed the contingent space for years, and has published important papers on contingent work and workplace trends. Her power largely resides in academe, but, as we will see, that might change.

Houseman is senior economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research association.

Houseman has been with Upjohn since 1989. She is a labor economist whose recent research has focused on labor market implications of temporary help and outsourcing and offshoring.

Houseman has written and contributed to many books and research papers on contingent work, and, as such, is one of the few serious research analysts on staffing, outside of staffing.

Some of her papers include: "Manufacturers' Outsourcing to Employment Services," "A Future of Good Jobs? America's Challenge in the Global Economy" and "Nonstandard Work in Developed Economies."

However, it is a long-term study that has germinated into a working paper and which is scheduled to run in a forthcoming issue of American Economic Journal: Applied Economics that may have the strongest influence on public policy and staffing.

Coauthored with MIT economist David Autor, the paper focuses on a study that examined a welfare-to-work program in Detroit called Work First from 1999 to 2003. The program offers job-seeking and training and then attempts to put participants in either temporary or long-term positions.

According to an abstract of the paper, "Temporary help jobs offer rapid entry into paid employment, but they are typically brief." Fair enough, but here's the kicker: "We find that temporary help job placements do not improve and may diminish subsequent earnings and employment outcomes among participants." The direct-hire candidates who were placed in the program had much better results.

The results of the study have already surprised labor researchers, who typically assume, like we all do, that a temporary job leads to better job opportunities and outcomes.

It will be interesting to see if these findings resonate outside of the research world and into public policy, but coauthor Autor, for one, believes they should. "In terms of what state agencies should be spending their money on, it should not be temporary-help placements, at least for this part of the population."

Houseman summed up her interest in contingent work this way: "The staffing industry accounts for only 2-3% of average daily employment. But its influence in the economy is far greater than those statistics would suggest. Staffing agencies have become an important port-of-entry into jobs for workers at all skill levels and important mechanism by which organizations adjust their workforce levels to changing needs." 

23. Ryan the Temp, Influencer
Ryan the Temp, a fictional TV character on The Office, played by B.J. Novak, is no longer a temp. He took Jim's job as junior sales associate. But we put the fictional Ryan Howard on this list to represent the millions of contingent workers that the world's staffing firms put to work every day.

We feel Ryan's power is in the perception he creates to millions of TV watchers of life as a temporary worker.

And actually, now that he's transitioned into a full-time job at the fictional Dunder-Mifflin, Ryan is another (albeit fictional) example of the power of staffing companies to transition people into full-time jobs.

With his own fan club and over 278,000 hits on Google, Ryan doesn't need staffing's help -- but the millions of temporary and contract workers out there do.

With U.S staffing spend at $103 billion in 2009, it's important to keep in mind that contingent workers are big business. However, in the end, contingent workers are individuals as well.

24. Stuart Altman, Influencer
A leading expert in healthcare policy and economics, Stuart Altman is the Sol C. Chaikin professor of National Health Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

A speaker at Staffing Industry Analysts' upcoming healthcare summit, Altman was an advisor to the healthcare reform plan for President Obama, and also advised former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton on healthcare-related issues.

"He's been behind the scenes on so many healthcare policy initiatives," explains one of our judges.

Altman tells us, "My early research work focused on the training of registered nurses. I also have analyzed the growing need for more staffing in the aging and long-term care areas."

He is chair of The Health Industry Forum, which brings together group leaders in the healthcare industry to develop solutions for critical problems our nation's healthcare system faces. Members of The Health Industry Forum include many of the nation's leading health plans, health systems, pharmaceutical manufacturers, employers and academic medical centers.

25. Linda Aiken, Influencer
Linda Aiken is a leading authority on the nursing shortage in the United States and internationally -- the ramifications of it and possible solutions for it. Aiken has been a huge influence on healthcare staffing, a segment of staffing that has been perhaps the most dynamic over the last decade.

Aiken's research over the years has, in fact, been a boon to staffing.

Perhaps the biggest impact that Aiken has had in the world of healthcare and staffing was her pioneering research into the connection between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes. This research, done with a group of colleagues, was published in 2002 in the Journal of the American Medical Association -- a very prestigious journal that raised the profile of the issue. One of the papers now regarded as classic was Hospital Nurse Staffing and Patient Mortality, Nurse Burnout and Job Dissatisfaction.

The study is now a well-established truth and, in fact, certain levels of nurse-to-patient ratios are law in California and being considered by about 12 other states.

Another key study debunked the negative perception about the quality of temporary nurses, a perception that still persists within hospitals even though a majority of hospitals use staffing firms to supplement their nurse requirements.

Seventy-five percent of hospitals participating in the study said they use supplemental nurses. Still, doubts over the quality of these nurses persisted. Aiken's study showed that, on average, supplemental nurses are more qualified, the majority of them work in primary jobs in hospitals and they are also more likely to be specialty certified.

Aiken is trying to dispel the myth that supplemental staffing is associated with poor outcomes. "It's widespread," she says. "That's why we took it on. We've taken it on and we've shown that it's not true."

"I don't think it's been widely recognized how important nursing is," comments Aiken. "It accounts for 40% of direct spend of hospitals and for hospitals to not know about the impact is absurd. Our passion is to try to make it explicit how important nurses are to their patients and patient outcomes with the hope that hospitals will make more informed judgments about nursing resources."

Aiken also thinks globally. She is a leading expert on global nurse migration, its consequences, and solutions in developing and developed countries. Frequently cited by the press for her research, she is also a winner of three American Academy of Nursing Media Awards.

Aiken directs the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. She is the Claire Fagin Leadership Professor of Nursing, professor of sociology and senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she codirects the National Council on Physician and Nurse Supply.

Aiken teaches undergraduate -- and graduate -- level courses that delve into current issues in health and social policy and health outcomes research in both nursing and sociology. She is the only registered nurse on the 30-member editorial board of Health Affairs.

Aiken, a member of the Expert Advisory Panel guiding the World Alliance for Patient Safety, is a leading expert on global nurse migration, its consequences, and solutions in developing and developed countries.

Profiles of our most powerful individuals were based on interviews, our archives, corporate Websites, and, where cited, other news periodicals.


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