In 2018, the ManpowerGroup generated around 22 billion dollars in revenue and maintained almost 2,600 offices around the world. Despite being based in the U.S., their presence in the U.S. market is quite small – they do not even make the top five in terms of market share. Europe – especially Southern Europe – is the main source of ManpowerGroup’s revenue, accounting for around two thirds of the total revenue in 2018. This curious situation is likely related to the company’s early expansion into the European market, and their history of corporate takeovers.
Manpower was founded in Milwaukee in 1948 by lawyers Elmer Winter and Aaron Scheinefeld, when they recognized there may be a need for companies to find temporary workers at short notice. Clearly there was such a need, with Manpower having opened multiple interstate offices by 1952, and offices in Canada, France and the U.K. by 1957. The company was listed on the New York stock exchange in 1962, until in 1975 they were acquired by the Parker Pen Company. Ironically, in 1985 Parker sold their pen business and re-listed itself as Manpower owing to the latter generating 90 percent of the company’s revenue. A few years later, history somewhat repeated itself. Following a hostile takeover by British employment and recruitment firm Blue Arrow in 1986, a combination of legal problems and corporate infighting led to Blue Arrow relocating their head office from Britain to Milwaukee in 1990, and reincorporating the company in the U.S. as Manpower Inc. The current name, ManpowerGroup, comes from a 2011 rebrand designed to streamline their operations into a smaller number of recognizable brands.