Kelly Services | Jobs, Benefits, Business Model, Founding Story

Kelly Services Inc (“Kelly Services”) seeks to connect talented individuals to employers that are in need of specific skills or experience, and to provide flexible working opportunities to those looking for employment opportunities.

Kelly Services traces its roots back to 1946 and the foundation of Russell Kelly Office Service by William Russell Kelly. 

The Company is credited as one of the pioneers of the temporary staffing business.  It initially offered a range of services that could be performed for customers at the offices of Russell Kelly Office Service.  Customers, however, later requested that services be provided at their own places of business on a temporary basis. 

In the Company’s early years, temporary workers were typically female, and became known as “Kelly Girls”.  In 1957, the Company changed its name to Kelly Girl Service Inc. 

The term “Kelly Girl” later was used commonly to refer to temporary workers across the staffing industry, regardless of the company providing the workers or the gender of the workers themselves.  Kelly Services expanded its service offerings in the 1960s, and took on its current name in 1966 to reflect this change. 

The Company also expanded internationally during the 1960s, opening its first office in Canada in 1968.  This was followed in 1972 by the launch of the Company’s first office in France.

Today, Kelly Services is among the largest staffing companies in the world.  It employs more than 1,000 workers at its headquarters in Michigan, and more than 6,800 workers worldwide. 

Kelly Services is listed on the NASDAQ and has a current market capitalisation of approximately USD 957.78 million.

Business model of Kelly Services

Customer Segments

Kelly Services provides staffing solutions to a broad range of employers. 

It customers typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Commercial Enterprises, comprising small, medium, and large businesses, including major Fortune 500 enterprises, that have a variety of temporary or permanent staffing needs;
  • Public and Government Organisations, comprising a range of government-run bodies, public organisations, and government institutions that similarly require temporary or permanent staffing services.

Kelly Services also provides services to individuals who are seeking temporary or permanent employment across a range of industries.

In 2018, an estimated 51% of Kelly Services’ total Company revenue was attributed to 100 large customers.  Its largest single customer accounted for approximately 5% of the Company’s total revenue in 2018.

Kelly Services is headquartered in the US, which remains its core market.  The Company also has significant international operations, serving customers across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Value Propositions

Kelly Services provides value to its customers in the following ways:

  • History and Reputation – Kelly Services is a recognisable brand which has a positive reputation within the staffing industry that dates back to the birth of the temporary staffing concept, and is a trusted name among employers;
  • Service Reach – Kelly Services operates an international network of offices, serving a broad range of companies and organisations across markets in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa;
  • Industry Expertise – Kelly Services is an established name in the staffing industry and offers its clients extensive experience within the industry, employing highly trained, specialist recruitment and staffing personnel led by a team of experienced industry executives; and
  • Established Networks – Kelly Services has an established network of clients in place and ongoing relationships with major commercial enterprises, making it easier for the Company to attract talent and form commercial relationships based on recommendations.


Kelly Services serves its clients directly across its network of branch offices, subsidiaries, joint ventures, and divisional offices spread across markets in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

The Company deliver sits services via its workforce of dedicated staffing and recruitment personnel, who work closely with customers in order to fully understand and fulfil their individual requirements. 

The Company currently employs approximately 1,100 people at its corporate headquarters in Troy, Michigan, and approximately 6,800 staff members in its US and international network of branch offices.

Customer Relationships

Kelly Services seeks to maintain long-term relationships with its clients, establishing itself as the first choice staffing and recruitment partner of a number of major commercial enterprises. 

The Company aims to secure this role by providing high quality, reliable staffing solutions, identifying talented and experienced candidates, and working closely with clients to properly understand what skills they require. 

Kelly Services’ staffing personnel notably deal directly with recruitment representatives at its client companies to discuss potential hires, specialist requirements, and other preferences.

Kelly Services operates a website at, through which it provides information on its services, its operating locations, its target industries, and its organisational structure. 

The Company also operates regional websites through which clients can access more market-specific information and through which potential candidates can search for jobs on a self-service basis. 

Kelly Services is additionally able to interact with clients and candidates through its various social media accounts – including with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube – which enable it to efficiently post company updates online.

Key Activities

Kelly Services is a workforce solutions provider.  It is engaged in offering a wide range of specialty recruitment and staffing services.

The Company offers workforce solutions across three geographic regions: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific. 

The Company organises its operations into three core business segments: Americas Staffing, which represents the Company’s branch-delivered staffing business in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Brazil; Global Talent Solutions, which combines the delivery structure of the Company’s outsourcing and consulting group and centrally delivered business; and International Staffing, which represents the Company’s branch-delivered staffing business across markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  Kelly Services is based in the US, and was established in 1946. 

Key Partners

Kelly Services works closely with a broad network of partner companies and organisations that support its core staffing operations. 

These partners can be organised broadly into the following categories:

  • Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of equipment and resources used across the Company’s network of offices, as well as third party providers of services that support the Company’s corporate activities more broadly;
  • Staffing Partners, comprising a range of third party companies and organisations with which the Company partners in identifying candidates in order to provide more wide-reaching staffing and recruitment services to its clients;
  • Technology Partners, comprising various technology and analytics companies that provide technologies, systems, and data solutions that help the Company to more effectively identify and place appropriate candidates;
  • Education and Training Partners, comprising academic institutions and education companies with which the Company partners in the delivery of training and education programs;
  • Joint Venture Partners, comprising various commercial enterprises with which the Company provides services jointly through mutually owned entities; and
  • Community Partners, comprising various non-profits and charitable organisations with which the Company collaborates on social and community projects across its operating markets, but notably in the US.

Kelly Services has a number of partnership in place.  In recent years, the Company has notably launched partnerships with companies and organisations such as Erecruit, Kenzie Academy, DeVry University, and Ashford University.

Key Resources

Kelly Services’ business model is dependent on its ability to effectively and efficiently connect employers with jobseekers around the world. 

As such, the Company’s key resources are its intellectual properties – including its proprietary business processes, its data systems and IT infrastructure, its international network of offices, its partnerships – notably its staffing partners, and its personnel. 

Cost Structure

Kelly Services incurs costs in relation to the development of its business processes and data systems, the maintenance and development of its IT and communications infrastructure, the operation of its office network – including occupancy and utility costs, the management of its partnerships, the implementation of marketing and branding campaigns, the procurement of equipment and supplies, the procurement of third party services, and the payment of salaries and benefits to its personnel.

In 2018, Kelly Services recorded total cost of services in the amount of USD 4.51 billion, and selling, general, and administrative costs for the year in the amount of USD 884.8 million.

Revenue Streams

Kelly Services generates revenue through the provision of staffing and recruitment services. 

The Company derives revenue in the form of service fees from customers that procure the services of its temporary employees on a time and materials basis, that the Company to recruit permanent employees, and that rely on the Company’s talent advisory and outsourcing services. 

The Company’s working capital requirements are primarily generated from temporary employee payroll and customer accounts receivable.

In 2018, Kelly Services generated annual revenue of USD 5.51 billion, up on the USD 5.37 billion recorded by the Company in 2017. 


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