Company Background | Kelly US

Kelly 70th

Company background

Founded by William Russell Kelly in 1946, Kelly Services has provided workforce solutions to customers in a variety of industries throughout its history. Our range of workforce solutions and geographic coverage has grown steadily over 70 years to match the needs of our customers. It began with office services, call center, light industrial, and electronic assembly staffing. Today, Kelly expertise also spans an array of outsourcing and consulting solutions, including recruitment, human resource management, vendor management, and outplacement services on a global basis.

A heritage of lasting innovation

For more than 70 years, Kelly has steadily evolved from a United States-focused company concentrating primarily on traditional office services into a dynamic global workforce solutions leader with a breadth of specialty businesses. Consider these milestones:

  • 1946 – William Russell Kelly opens a service bureau in Detroit
  • 1953 – Sales exceed $1 million
  • 1960s – Expands to place thousands each year in light industrial, marketing, and technical roles
  • 1972 – First European office opens in Paris, France
  • 1973 – Sales exceed $100 million
  • 1979 – Kelly has offices in all 50 states
  • 1986 – Sales exceed $1 billion
  • 1995 – Kelly launches Kelly Scientific Resources®
  • 1996 – Established the industry’s first MSP program; now manage $7.2B in MSP spend
  • 1997 – Kelly opens its 1,500th field office, and 500th Partnered Staffing office
  • 1999 – Kelly launches specialized lines:
    • Kelly Engineering Resources
    • Kelly IT Resources
    • Kelly Educational Staffing
  • 2003 – Kelly is named one of Fortune magazine's "Most Admired Companies"
  • 2007 – Kelly now operates in many countries and territories and realigns into three global regions
  • 2015 – Awarded Inavero's 2015 Best of Staffing® Client Award
  • 2015 – 4th consecutive year on the IAOP Global Outsourcing 100® list
  • 2015 – 1 million workers connected with employment opportunities through Kelly’s staffing solutions and talent supply chain network of supplier partners

Download our 70 years of industry leadership timeline infographic

Kelly assigns professional and technical employees in the fields of finance and accounting, education, engineering, information technology, law, and science. We rank among the world’s leaders in scientific, IT, engineering, and financial staffing.

Awards and recognition

Kelly Services has been recognized for its quality processes, management practices, supplier diversity, and community involvement with the awarding of 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”, Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Companies” list, and Workforce Magazine’s “80 People, Events & Trends that Shaped HR”.