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Highlights & Trends in the HRO Market in H1 2016


As earnings are released, it’s a good time to reflect on HR outsourcing trends by key service line. Here’s a brief round-up of market activity across payroll, RPO, and learning services in H1 2016.


Payroll activity has been bustling in Europe YTD, with a strong emphasis on ramping up capabilities. SD Worx made two acquisitions to accelerate its growth across Europe, including Ceridian U.K. and Ireland, and Fidelis HR in Germany. Already the largest payroll provider in Benelux, SD Worx strengthens its footprint across EMEA through these acquisitions.

Continuing its expansion, Workday launched payroll in France.  At the same time, Workday partners providing cloud-based HR services such as OneSource Virtual (OSV) and NGA HR have been expanding delivery capabilities in Europe as follows:

  • NGA HR opened a new center in Bristol, England, that will also be an innovation hub for cloud HR, payroll, analytics, and HR BPaaS
  • OSV launched the next phase of its European service center in Derry, Ireland, which currently has ~100 employees.

For leading payroll outsourcing providers, multi-country capability is a critical success factor, and most vendors continue to expand their footprint globally, e.g. ADP recently added payroll support for Angola, Azerbaijan, Guam, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Tanzania, and Zambia.

For more insights into the payroll market, NelsonHall will be publishing its Next Generation Payroll Services market analysis in August.


The RPO market continues its evolution. NelsonHall estimates that ~43% of all RPO contracts include multiple countries in scope. Therefore, many vendors have been focused on expanding their geographic presence. Examples include:

  • Randstad in Japan and Italy via its acquisitions of Careo Group and Obiettivo Lavoro respectively
  • Cielo in Asia Pacific by expanding its delivery support in Singapore
  • Adecco Group in the U.K. by acquiring Penna’s career and talent solutions business
  • Alexander Mann Solutions by opening a second delivery center in Poland.


Contract activity for learning BPO (LBPO) was up significantly relative to H1 2015 across various verticals, including manufacturing, with wins focused on the automotive sector including:

  • Raytheon Professional Services won a three year contract with BMW in Northern Europe for delivery, administration and management, deployment, and local adaptation services
  • GP Strategies winning an automotive training contract with a Korean OEM as well as an operations training contract with a European Luxury OEM.

Also noteworthy was HSBC’s two-year extension with GP Strategies; HSBC is GP Strategies’ largest LBPO client.

Stay tuned for more highlights and trends from H1 2016 specific to benefits administration. 

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