One of the nation's largest temporary and permanent employment providers, Kelly annually matches its 800,000 workers with over 215,000 customers. A mainstay on the Fortune 500 list, Kelly works in a variety of sectors including office, accounting and finance, engineering, health care, information technology, legal, scientific, marketing, manufacturing, and distribution. On a day-to-day basis, Kelly deploys approximately 150,000 temporary and 6,500 full-time employees. These numbers may seem large until one considers the company's global reach. Kelly operates almost 2,000 offices throughout the United States and abroad.
With 1999 sales in excess of $4.3 billion, Kelly Services is only getting richer. Why? The company's strategy has something to do with it, but so does its environment. With corporate America trying to keep staff counts and payrolls to a minimum, more and more companies are turning to temporary workers. Because temps generally do not receive the same benefits or earnings as salaried employees, companies save a few extra bucks - and so does Kelly.
Kelly girl, boy - oh, whatever
Incorporated in 1952 in Delaware, Kelly Services initially operated as a clerical service. Its former name, Kelly Girl Service, Inc., reflects both the gender- and industry-norms of that era. However, as more women began to permeate previously male-dominated fields, Kelly expanded beyond the administrative and secretarial markets. It also opened its doors to another employment-seeking clientele - men. Today Kelly employs all kinds of professionals, including engineers, accountants, lawyers, and even substitute teachers.
Despite its "equal opportunity employer" status, Kelly Services is still a woman-oriented company. In fact, Working Woman magazine named it one of the country's "top 25 public companies for executive women" in 1998. Regardless of whether or not it employs men or women, Kelly faces a labor shortage brought by the booming economy and tight labor market. In response to this problem, Kelly devotes 70 percent of its marketing budget to recruiting new hires.
Besides finding temporary and permanent employment for workers, Kelly Services offers a number of positions within its own HQ and field offices. Applicants' records are kept on file for one year. Positions are most often available in Recruitment, Public Relations, Risk Management, and Information Systems. For more information on available corporate jobs, consult Kelly's employment Web page, located at www.kellyservices.com/kcn.
Comments on Kelly range from scathing to worshipful. "I've been with Kelly for six years now and it has been fantastic since day one," exclaims one insider. But another disagrees, "I personally cannot recommend working for Kelly unless you work for the corporate office in Troy. There is no opportunity for advancement unless you are working for one of the major metro areas or at the HQ." She continues, "I didn't have support or interest from my managers to encourage further growth." Fortunately, there are many informants who rest somewhere in the middle of the love/hate Kelly continuum: "I have a lot of friends that I met through Kelly; and a lot of them happen to be minorities. Kelly is run from the ranks up, mostly by women."
"During my six years with Kelly," states one scholarly insider, "I worked getting my Masters and my Ph.D. - solely for personal satisfaction." And the perks go on. Another contact reveals that "the temporary staffing business is a good way to try out various fields." As far as finding a job, Kelly's "interview process is pretty consistent." Whether you are "interviewing for a position internal to the organization or on-site with one of the clients, you will be evaluated on both your hard and soft skills." What is not consistent, however, is Kelly's network. The branches "are vastly different - and your experience will vary accordingly."
As far as pay is concerned, deems one insider, "Kelly pays above average. However, once I discovered the demands of the job and all it entails, the pay seemed to hardly compensate." She doesn't try to disguise her disdain when it comes to the temping business: "I began to find the industry itself distasteful; and for lack of a better way to describe it - I felt as though I was a 'madame and the temporaries working for us 'prostitutes.'" Another contact concurs with this negative assessment: "If you are only looking for something short-term, Kelly is an excellent opportunity, but I cannot recommend it as a career."
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