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RPO in mainland Europe: millions in revenue not tens of millions

RPO in mainland Europe: millions in revenue not tens of millions

How big is RPO on the European mainland? Though many of the big names in the RPO industry clearly have the intention to build a strong European presence, it seems that in reality the scale of many operations is still quite small. Revenue is typically measured in the millions, not in the tens of millions.

To get a sense of the European RPO market we decided to look at the presence of sixteen of the biggest names in RPO in the European Union. Apart from a few European players like Adecco’s Pontoon and Randstad Sourceright, these are companies of either American or British origin. This is a testament to the fact that the global RPO market is still dominated by players from these markets where RPO first came to fruition.

Of these sixteen RPO-players1, half have a presence in Europe. In total we found one hundred four corporate entities in the various business registries of twenty-one European countries.

Focus on Northern Europe

As can be seen on the map below, most of these companies are based in Northern Europe. The Netherlands, France and Germany each have over ten entities in their business registries. Given their size, Scandinavian countries also harbor a relatively large number of companies. From Norway with three, to Sweden with seven.

In total, about sixty percent of all entities in Europe are situated in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. In contrast, only twelve percent of these entities are located in Southern Europe, being Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. In Italy we found only three registrations, while this is the third economy of the European mainland.


Revenue measured in millions not tens of millions

One hundred four entities does sound like a lot, but doesn’t tell us anything about how much business RPOs actually do in Europe. To get a sense of revenue size we looked at annual accounts. Available data is spotty, with just over a quarter of companies in business registries reporting income statements. However, the data that is available, shows that often revenue can be measured in the millions, instead of in the tens let alone hundreds of millions.

We found three companies with more than 50 million euro in revenue in 2019. There were a total of ten with revenue between 10 and 50 million euro. Fifteen companies had annual revenue of less than 10 million euro of which six with less than 1 million euro.


# of companies

<1 million euro


1 - 10 million euro


10 - 20 million euro


20 - 50 million euro


>50 million euro







Total market revenue just shy of half a billion euro

104 entities in twenty-one countries together have a turnover just shy of half a billion euros. This is what we found looking for RPO activities in the European Union’s business registries. So while there clearly is an RPO market in Europe, it does seem to be less developed than for example the market in the UK.

We will share more data and insights as well as a great number of interviews with industry leaders and experts in our upcoming report The value of European RPO. Stand by for that, as we will publish it early in May.

In the meantime, you can read last year’s report The start of a new decade for the RPO market 2020-2021.

1 RPO-players included in this research:

  • Randstad Sourceright
  • Hays Talent Solutions
  • Kelly Services (KellyOCG)
  • Korn Ferry
  • WilsonHCG
  • Alexander Mann Solutions
  • Cielo
  • PeopleScout
  • Talent Solutions RPO (Manpower)
  • Pontoon
  • Hudson RPO
  • Allegis Global Solutions.
  • Sevenstep
  • AgileOne Group
  • Engage2Excel Recruitment Solutions
  • Resource Solutions