Randstad Holding NV says North America may become the company’s biggest market this year because of an acquisition and faster economic growth in the U.S. than in Europe. Randstad chief executive officer Ben Noteboom points out that hiring of professionals in the information-technology, engineering, and accounting industries has been increasing, enabling the company to build on its eight consecutive quarters of U.S. sales growth. “We are almost back at the previous peak,” Noteboom says. “There is no sign that the rise in penetration will stop” as firms seek to grow while remaining flexible enough to match sudden changes in the economy.
Randstad nearly doubled its presence in the U.S. after buying Fort Lauderdale, FL-based SFN Group Inc. for $771 million last year. U.S. companies are expanding work forces as sales rise and the threat of financial contagion from a European sovereign-debt default diminishes. “Structurally you see the biggest growth in the professional segment,” says Noteboom. “Our most important stake is the information technology market in the U.S.”