Staffing agency giant Randstad is relocating dozens of smaller branches in the Netherlands from prime locations to industrial estates, in a push to go largely digital.
From 2018, the Randstad branches in city centres will be limited to a number of ‘flagship stores’ in around 10 big cities. None of the other branches will close. Instead they will move to a new address, a Randstad spokesperson told the Volkskrant.
The move will result in annual savings for the company of around €90 to €100m.
In an interview with the Financieele Dagblad, Reiant Mulder, the director in charge of Dutch operations, said business was no longer reliant on people walking in from the street. ‘99% of searches for a new job start online. That includes people over the age of 50. The tempo in which people have switched to digital has taken us by surprise,’ he told the paper.
Randstad is directing most of the freed up budget towards new technologies which will increase the chance of finding the right person for job. ‘Algorithms are telling us: this request for a worker matches this candidate,’ Mulder is quoted as saying. The method is already used for low-skilled jobs but will now also be employed to place the highly skilled.
The move does not mean any of the intermediaries who mediate between candidate and company, will be fired. They will be given a role in coaching and their number will be reduced as people leave the company, the paper writes.
According to the Volkskrant, Randstad is anxious not to lose face-to-face contact with its clients. It quotes the company’s last annual report as saying that ‘57% of candidates thinks the hiring process is too automated, impersonal and only focused on transactions. We want to keep the personal connection where this is needed.’
But clients will have to travel further for an interview. ‘We are choosing sites which are easily reached by public transport,’ the spokesperson told the Volkskrant.