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Mapping the Globalization of the Temporary Staffing Industry


  • *This article draws on a wider project exploring the globalization of the temporary staffing industry. We thank the editor and four referees for their helpful and constructive comments. We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the U.K.'s Economic and Social Research Council (Grant no: R000-23-0616). Kevin Ward acknowledges the support of the Leverhulme Trust. The project is an equal, three-way collaborative effort and all papers derived from it are authored alphabetically.


Very little is currently known about the globalization of the temporary staffing industry, a strategically significant sector given its role in promulgating wider labor market flexibility. This article starts to rectify this research lacuna in four ways: by conceptualizing the international expansion of temporary staffing and comparing it to other business service sectors, by identifying and mapping the top twenty transnational staffing agencies, by offering a typology of the leading transnational agencies based on their functional and geographic characteristics, and by charting a research agenda for future work on this sector.