Temp Agency Review: Kelly Services

Kelly ServicesHistory:

William Russell Kelly founded Russell Kelly Office Service in 1946. The firm provided services performed at Kelly's offices. Later, clients requested that the work be handled at their locations, and business of temporary staffing was created.

According to Wikipedia, "The temporary workers, who were usually female, became known as 'Kelly girls.' In recognition of this, the name of the company was changed to Kelly Girl Service Inc. in 1957. The term 'Kelly girl' became a widely used term for a temporary worker, regardless of the worker's company affiliation or gender. In 1966 the name of the company was changed to Kelly Services Inc., in order to reflect an expanding range of services."

Kelly is the largest scientific staffing firm globally, and is a large IT, engineering, and financial staffing provider. Kelly counts as its clients more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500. Kelly Services is has operations primarily centered in three regions worldwide: The Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Kelly placed over 650,000 temporary and permanent employees at client firms globally.

Kelly is ranked number 437 in the Fortune 500, and employs over 8,900 internal employees worldwide. Kelly provides employment to 480,000 employees annually. Revenues in 2009 were $4.3 billion.


Kelly maintains offices in major and most mid-sized metro areas, as well as on-site at the company's major clients. Kelly screens candidates in person and via phone interviews, testing, reference checks, and also via background checks and drug testing per client request.

From the company's Web site, Kelly's key strengths and values include:

  • Respected global company
  • Solid history and legacy within the staffing industry
  • Strong financial stability
  • Broad spectrum of employment and management solutions
  • Innovative recruiting and retention strategies

Kelly offers a competitive benefit package including health insurance, vision, dental, life and short-term disability insurance, 401(k) service bonus, and holiday pay. Kelly offers online training in a variety of business and technology classes. Some of its courses qualify for continuing education requirements for professional licensing agencies. A Kelly lab technician on contract said: "Interesting job, get a chance for an employer to look you over fully before making you an offer. Training opportunities abound." (name withheld, from Glassdoor.com).

A Kelly technical writing temp shared: "Kelly has been around longer than many and has "ins" with many established companies. They have always been willing to negotiate a higher hourly rate or salary for me. Kelly seems to hire friendly, more down-to-earth, capable and socially savvy recruiters, in my experience. I've worked with them, off and on, for twenty years, and no other employment firm has equaled or surpassed them for customer service and ability to find jobs" (name withheld, Glassdoor.com).

Service lines:

Kelly offers temporary, contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent placement In a wide array of industries:

  • Automotive
  • Contact Center
  • Education: Coll/Univ
  • Education: K-12
  • Electronic Assembly
  • Engineering
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Government
  • Health care
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Light Industrial
  • Marketing
  • Office
  • Scientific

Client reviews:

"As a longstanding preferred supplier to Intel, Kelly Services has demonstrated the utmost dedication to continuous quality improvement across all aspects of staffing supply services and management; continually earning the respect of the global staffing industry. We at Intel are very pleased to once again recognize Kelly Services with our highest honor for supplier excellence for their dedication and performance in 2005," -- Roger Whittier, director of purchasing, Intel Corp.

"The candidates we receive from Kelly Services are highly screened, evaluated and prepared for their roles at LabOne. Our partnership with Kelly has resulted in high-caliber employees -- from clerical and light industrial to high-end IT, healthcare, financial and scientific professionals. We know Kelly will continue to deliver the type of candidates who rock our LabOne world." -- Andrea Thomas, executive vice president, human resources, LabOne


Based in Troy, Mich., Kelly has offices throughout the Unites States, with multiple offices in major metro areas, and offices in most mid-sized markets. See Kelly's Web site for exact locations. Kelly has thousands of offices globally.


Kelly invented temporary staffing, and gets great reviews from both workers and clients. Kelly works with the world's largest companies and has some of the best technology available to make training, payroll reporting, and communication between company and employee easy.

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