Randstad founder Frits Goldschmeding about the history of Randstad

My Randstad Story: Scott Sneyd

CEO message annual report 2015 Randstad

Story of Randstad
Randstad Holding NV is a Dutch multinational human resource consulting firm headquartered in Diemen, Netherlands. Randstad is the world’s second-largest HR service provider after Adecco. It was founded in the Netherlands in 1960 by Frits Goldschmeding and operates in around 39 countries. In 2015, the company achieved a turnover of €19.2 billion and a net income of €518.8 million. Randstad employs around 29,000 staff. Globally, Randstad has 4,473 branches.

Randstad Holding NV is listed as RAND on the AEX of Euronext Amsterdam. Founder Frits Goldschmeding is still the biggest shareholder. Randstad’s head office is in Diemen, in the Netherlands.

Core activities
Randstad specializes in human resource services for temporary and permanent jobs, including contract staffing of professionals and senior managers.

In most of these countries, Randstad works according to a unit structure, whereby each unit consists of two consultants who are responsible for service provision to clients and selecting candidates. Randstad promotes these activities under two brand names: Randstad and Tempo Team.

A separate division of Randstad focuses on recruiting supervisors, managers, professionals, interim specialists and advisors. These people are deployed in temporary positions in middle and senior management, such as engineers, ICT specialists, or marketing & communication specialists.

In a number of countries, Randstad also has operating companies that select managers for permanent placements in middle and senior management. HR Solutions also involves a number of services such as selection processes, HR consultancy, outplacement and career support.

Brands under which Randstad promotes its activities include Randstad, Randstad Care, Tempo Team, Expectra and “Yacht.” In order to increase name recognition, Randstad has also become a sponsor of the British Formula 1 team Williams F1 .


1960-1970: The company’s launch
Randstad was founded in 1960 by Frits Goldschmeding and Ger Daleboudt, who were both studying economics at the time at VU University Amsterdam. The first flyers for the firm were typed in Goldschmeding’s attic room in the student house on Sloterkade in Amsterdam. The agency was called ‘Uitzendbureau Amstelveen’.

In the first years, Uitzendbureau Amstelveen mainly provided personnel for the insurance industry, banks and the health-care sector. The firm’s first office was near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam.

Founders Ger Daleboudt and Frits Goldschmeding (r) eight years after starting their company
In 1963, the agency also opened branches in Leiden and Rotterdam and changed its name from ‘Uitzendbureau Amstelveen’ to ‘Randstad Uitzendbureau’. At that time, Goldschmeding and Daleboudt were still sure that the Randstad (the urban area between Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam) represented their total reach.

A new logo was created by designer Ben Bos from Total Design. This is still the logo used by Randstad in 2011.

From 1965, Randstad opened a branch in Brussels, in 1967 in London and in 1968 in Düsseldorf, Germany. France followed in 1973.

After obtaining additional funding from AMRO Bank, in 1970 Randstad moved into a new head office on A.J. Ernstraat in Amsterdam, where administration of time sheets was centralized, and the company’s first computer – the size of a large conference room – acquired to process them.
As the number of temporary staffing agencies grew (e.g. ASB, Manpower Inc., Evro and Tempo-Team), temporary staffing agencies acquired a poor image. Part of the criticism was political; trade unions and left-wing parties wished the government to have greater control over the labor market and also over employment mediation. Unions were concerned that temporary staff had no rights, might earn more than permanent staff, that employers would replace permanent jobs by temporary ones, that only people who were relatively mobile got temporary jobs and that temporary staff would be given only dirty and heavy work. However Randstad felt that it was finding jobs for people who would not otherwise be active on the labor market.

The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs struggled with the concept of temporary staffing agencies and introduced a series of restrictive measures, going so far as to stipulate that the agencies could not expand any further. Moreover, each temporary employee had to be regularly re-registered with the Ministry; nor were temporary staff allowed to earn more than permanent employees. The unintended effect was that demand for temporary staff soared, due to the relatively low costs.

In response, Randstad – together with ABU, an association that promoted the interests of temporary staffing agencies – initiated 22 court cases against the regulations. One result was the abolition of regulation prohibiting expansion.

Consultant role

Randstad building in Enschede
While acquiring and serving clients on the one hand and selecting and placing temporary staff on the other were initially two different roles, Randstad decided to integrate them in one person, the consultant. At the time this was a unique development in the temporary staffing sector.

In its early years the company had focused on supplying keypunch operators, typists, accountants, administrators and secretaries. From 1973 it adopted a broader approach, dealing with all types of personnel, from medical to industrial.

Holding Company
At the end of the 1970s Randstad had several divisions, not only temporary staffing, but also cleaning work and security. In 1978, Randstad Holding NV was therefore founded as a holding company to accommodate all the divisions. Randstad also moved to a bigger head office in Diemen in 1977.

1980-1990: steady growth and stock market flotation
The period 1980-1990 started with a recession, as a result of which Randstad was forced to make 160 staff redundant. However, predicting correctly when the economy would recover, Randstad shifted its focus towards growth instead of cost reduction. Its competitor Tempo-Team was less successful in riding the recession and in late 1982 sought to be taken over by Randstad. The price was 125,000 euros and the commitment to repay a large debt. Randstad maintained the brand name but differentiated the Tempo-Team brand by aiming at more experienced staff.

CAO for temporary staff
The trade union FNV now recognized that the labor market needed flex workers, and that for many people temporary work constituted a step towards a permanent job, and sought discussions. This resulted in 1986 in a Collective Labor Agreement (CLA) for permanent employees in the temporary staffing sector and in 1987 in a CLA for all temporary staff.

From 1982, government policies became less hostile to temporary staffing agencies, recognizing that they could promote employment, and the rules were gradually relaxed. This was a major change for Randstad, its changed status being symbolized when during its 25th anniversary celebrations, founder Goldschmeding received a Royal Honor.

Stock market flotation
Randstad’s turnover rose from 204 million euros in 1983 to 518 million euros in 1985. In 1988, Randstad embarked on a stock market flotation which took place on 5 June 1990. Initially Randstad shares did not do as well as hoped, because the introductory price was set high. However, successful performance from 1991 caused the share price to rise.

1990-2000: internationalization
At the same time, Randstad gave more focus to internationalization. Around 1990 it was primarily a Dutch company; only a quarter of turnover was generated by international activities. On 1 April 1992, Randstad acquired the Dutch temporary staffing agency Flex, which also had branches in Belgium and France, for instance. In the Netherlands, Werknet was acquired and integrated in Tempo-Team.

A major goal was to establish the company in the United States. New board member Erik Vonk therefore set up a small office in Atlanta and sought a suitable candidate for takeover. In 1993 Randstad took over TempForce, a local agency with twelve offices in Atlanta. At the end of 1993, Randstad also acquired the U.S. agency Jane Jones Enterprises. By mid-1994 Randstad had 32 branches in the U.S. generating a turnover of 30 million euros and deploying 5,500 flex workers every day, still small compared with Randstad’s turnover in the Netherlands of 909 million euros.

Randstad became a sponsor in Atlanta of the 1996 Olympic Games, and supplied 16,000 temporary staff to the Games, greatly increasing its name recognition.

Management changes
On Friday 16 May 1998, at the age of 65, Frits Goldschmeding retired from the company he founded after 38 years. After a year’s rest, Goldschmeding took his seat on the Supervisory Board. He was succeeded by Hans Zwarts, who embarked on more acquisitions. In order to continue the internationalization process, temporary staffing chain Strategix was acquired in the United States, a company with 300 branches. In Switzerland, Life & Work was acquired, in Spain Tempo Grup and in Germany Time Power. However, these acquisitions and problems with integrating them into Randstad caused 2000 and 2001 profits, and the share price, to fall. Faced with these poor results, Zwarts resigned.

2000-2016: recent history
In October 2001, Cleem Farla succeeded Hans Zwarts as CEO. His aims were to reintroduce the former Randstad brand values, develop a better strategy for internationalization and substantially cut costs. This was expressed in a new business strategy based on four strategic building blocks: strong concepts, best people, excellent execution and superior brands. This strategy was successful; in 2003, the net profit was 77.1 million euros, a 36% increase compared to 2002. However, in August 2002, Farla was diagnosed with a serious illness. Ben Noteboom temporarily stepped into his shoes, and definitively assumed his role on 1 March 2003.

In order to further standardize Randstad’s services, the company started to define and implement best practices. ‘You map out the market and enter the results in this database. We’ve turned these activities into a routine.  We give it the rhythm and tone, but our staff make their own music,’ according to CFO Robert-Jan van de Kraats. As a result, it is easier to copy services from one market to another. Randstad has specialized in the recognition, recording and implementing of company processes worldwide.

Internationally, Randstad took over EmmayHR and Team4U in India, and took its first steps in China. Randstad also entered the market in Portugal, Hungary, Turkey, Poland and Japan.

In the year 2000, Randstad also launched the Randstad Award research conducted by a third party research company, ICMA, in 23 countries around the world including; USA, UK, France, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. The Randstad Award is based on the results of the largest employment survey into employer branding research across the world and designed to uncover how employers are perceived in the eyes of today’s job seekers.

In August 2016, Randstad Holding has announced acquisition of job search website Monster Worldwide Inc.

On Monday 3 December 2007, Randstad and temporary staffing organization Vedior announced their merger. Randstad had been eyeing Vedior for some time. The takeover moved both companies up to number two in the world (after Adecco). Vedior had a higher proportion of higher-margin, faster growing professional staffing business than Randstad. Moreover, Vedior operated in strategic markets in which Randstad had not yet established itself, such as Japan and Brazil. In spite of differences in organisational culture, the two companies were ultimately successfully merged.

50th anniversary
In 2010, Randstad celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, marked by the publication of the book ‘Randstad Mensenwerk’ compiled by Professor Fred Emmer, professor emeritus at Leiden University. This book was internally distributed within Randstad under the title ‘Working on a dream’.

Below are reviews of Randstad Singapore Pte Ltd given by the ex-recruiters. All information are taken from Glassdoor.com


Well-known brand. Roles coming in from BD team and other teams all time which makes life easier. Depending on your market, the database might be very relevant and have lots of good candidates (depends on market though). Not overly-demanding on working long hours like other companies.


Hard to get on with the job – many many layers of management (mostly overpaid expats) who will do their best to drag you from your desk and interrogate you monthly, weekly, daily… Some managers really got nothing to do except create problems, especially those expat ones who no longer do recruitment and have moved into made-up roles. No chance of promotion unless you’re in the right clique, despite what they claim.

Advice to Management

It’s about the RECRUITERS, not the MANAGEMENT.


If you’re fresh into the workforce and keen on recruitment sales, Randstad provides you with a generalised recruitment training ground, moulded on the company’s “best practices” or assumptions to get things moving along. IF you are hungry, bare your fangs and you’ll likely to succeed here.


Wherever you come from, be prepared to lose your individuality or your uniqueness along the way. The WOW factor that got you hired? It wont be relevant anymore a couple of months into the role as you’ll be recommended to follow some best practices of client engagement. Do your own market research if you’re joining the firm, some industries are harder to recruit than others and miracles ARE expected of you sometimes. … Show More

Advice to Management

You must broaden your Skill Set – Fixing You must work on your Areas of Opportunity – Fixing You must become more Well Rounded – Fixing You need a Development Plan – Fixing You are to blame for your Areas of Nontalent – Fixing Repeat this often enough to employees and understand that its reminiscent of a bad relationship whereby it ultimately ends up in a divorce. Then again, you are Randstad.


One of the things that strike me most about Randstad is its focus on its people – it continuously looks at how it can help its employees succeed in their jobs, how it can improve itself and its culture. Motivation levels in the office are high – to preserve the awesome culture, the management team places strong importance in hiring the right people who possess the same values, as opposed to capable people who are clearly not a fit for the organisation. Love the team spirit here – and the spirit of innovation that exists throughout the organisation, both locally and globally. The Group has an internal policy of promoting at least 80% of their staff – which is a value that all offices hold in high regard and actively practice. They truly believe when they focus on delighting their employees, their people will in turn delight their clients and candidates.


None that I can think of.

Advice to Management

Stay true to your culture – there aren’t many recruitment companies in Singapore that can boast a culture and management as strong as Randstad


Management is dedicated and keen on developing talent! Management go the extra mile to mentor and develop individuals Pleasant working environment and lovely colleagues across the organisation Randstad continuously looks to improve the working environment Provides work life balance as long as you are able to handle your own portfolio


Strict on KPIs, however on a positive note it benefits individuals/billing consultants to stretch their potentials and go beyond their comfort zones. In return provides revenue for individuals and the organisation as a whole!

Advice to Management

Keep up the great work!


Recruitment consulting is a challenging job and requires resilience, commitment and passion for dealing with people. Given the many unpredictable factors we face on a daily basis, it is extremely crucial to have an understanding and supportive company culture – which is exactly what Randstad Singapore provides. With a set of excellent leaders both at a Directorial and Managerial level, they know how to bring out your… Show More


Being a consulting / sales role a good measure of resilience and passion is needed to get you through some days. A career in recruitment consulting anywhere across Singapore is bound to measure you by various metrics, though in Randstad the company culture is designed in such a manner that it supports you to push yourself and achieve big results for yourself and the company. This high-performance culture can be intim… Show More

Advice to Management

Thanks for making Randstad different from the rest.


Strong and supportive management, with some having had been with the company for more than a decade. One of the best big recruitment companies to work for, with attractive commission payout and promotions to various functions. High achievers in the company that sets the benchmarks for quality service delivery.


Look to invest more in the systems and job boards/job ads in quality and quantity. As the company is growing fast, the systems and recruitment tools needs to keep up with the demands.

Advice to Management

Definitely, a good job done in managing the business. Keep up the good work done.


We have a strong management team and the environment is supportive for staffing professionals at all stages of their career. Internal mobility is preferred as promotion through the ranks are generally used over external recruitment.


Organization is massive so tend to be harder to get the spotlight if you are doing well but not among the best.


You will have work all the time. I left the company within 1 year. Their attrition rate is very high. 4-5 People leave every other month saying various reasons , but basically people leave when they realise the des parity


You get less than half of what an expat gets who does the exact same job and exact same work as you do.

Advice to Management

Have some sort of equality towards your local employees. Of course having westerners in the company is for diversity but pay them equally for same job and same targets