About Kelly Services

Not just for girls anymore

Founded in 1946, Kelly Services got its start as Kelly Girl Service, Inc., a business dedicated to placing females in clerical positions.  Back then, when employees arrived at a customer's office, they would introduce themselves by saying, "I'm your Russell Kelly Office Service girl."  According to founder William R. Kelly, his employees got tired of the long phrase and started saying, "I'm your Kelly Girl."  The short version stuck, thus the term, "Kelly Girl." 

These days, the agency has opened its doors to another employment-seeking clientele, men, and has expanded beyond the administrative and secretarial markets.  Kelly employs all kinds of professionals, including engineers, accountants, lawyers and even substitute teachers.  Generally, the agency matches more than 480,000 employees with some 200,000 clients through its 2,600 offices in 28 countries.

Appealing to the mature crowd

Despite its "equal opportunity employer" status, Kelly Services is still a woman-oriented company.  It is also in touch with the mature workers of the world.  Kelly employs about 60,000 mature workers nationally, or roughly 10 percent of the company's workforce, and was recognized as one of AARP's Best Employers for Mature Workers in 2005.  Kelly ranked 21st out of 50 companies.  According to Carl Camden, Kelly Services president and COO, mature workers represent an attractive portion of the workforce because of their high levels of education, experience, expertise and maturity. 

Among the Top

Over the years, Kelly Services received numerous awards in recognition of its quality processes, management practices, supplier diversity and community involvement.  These accolades include Intel Corporation's Certified Supplier Quality Award, Johnson & Johnson's Supplier Diversity Partnership Award, Sara Lee Corporation's Outstanding Service and Support Award, American Red Cross/Southeast Michigan Corporate Citizen Award, Michigan Minority Business Development Council's Corporation of the Year, as well as inclusion in Fortune magazine's Most Admired Companies and Workforce magazine's 80 People, Events & Trends that Shaped HR lists.  In the 2010 Fortune 500 list, Kelly Services ranked No. 479, lower than its previous year's rank of No. 437.  Additionally, Kelly Services was one of the two companies under the Temporary Help Services industry that was listed in the 2010 Fortune 500 list, Manpower Services was the other company. 

Lackluster performance

Due to global economic conditions, the fiscal year 2009 proved to be one of the most challenging in Kelly's 63-year history as fundamental changes in the staffing market emerged and large companies focused on managing their workforce.  During this period the company reported a net loss of $3.01 per diluted share from continuing operations compared to a net loss of $2.35 per share in 2008.  Gross profit rate for the year declined from 17.7 percent in 2008 to 16.3 percent due to changing business mix and declining fee-based income.  Revenue from services totaled $4.31 billion for 2009, a decrease of 21.8 percent from 2008.  Reflecting the global economic slowdown, revenue decreased in all of their firm's seven business segments. 

Compensation motivation

As far as pay is concerned, deems one insider, "Kelly's pay is 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 madam' and the temporaries working for us were 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."

Internal strife

One insider even went as far by saying that "the newer leadership has really bent to an all time low.  Kelly's PR dept does boast on how well they treat employees (temporary staff), which is a partial truth, good stories are embellished, while treating their full-time staff like dirt."  Another source seems to agree: "Working for Kelly was terrible.  Sabotage on new employees by old timers, limited-to-no training and Stone Age software and email systems!  Very strict (conservative) dress code and things are done the way they always have been, so no thinking outside the box!"

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Kelly Services

999 West Big Beaver Road
Troy, MI 48084-4782
Phone: (248) 362-4444


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: KELYB, KELYA
  • Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
  • President & CEO: Carl T. Camden
  • 2009 Employees: 480,000

Major Office Locations

  • Burbank, CA
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Orange County, CA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Clearwater, FL
  • Boston, MA
  • Troy, MI
  • New York, NY
  • Albany, NY
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Austin, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Arlington, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Corpus Christi, TX
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Key Financials

  • 2009 Revenue: $4,315 million

Vault Company ID: 881

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