PDS Tech sells to Paris-based AKKA

PDS Tech Inc., which ranks No. 63 on SIA’s list of largest US staffing firms, was acquired by AKKA, a Paris-based publicly traded firm.

AKKA has also appointed Cash Nickerson as chairman of its North American business unit. Nickerson had served at Irving, Texas-based PDS Tech as president and CFO for 15 years. He will also join AKKA’s group executive committee.

“I look forward to this new challenge and to develop the AKKA North America business. With 8% growth to nearly $300 billion in 2017, the US outsourced R&D market is three times larger than that of France and Germany combined. The combination of PDS Tech and AKKA provide a powerful driver to accompany leading US companies towards integrated solutions.”

AKKA North America will continue to operate with the PDS Tech brand and business model. PDS Tech’s revenue is expected to grow by 15% to $300 million this year.

AKKA had revenue of €1.3 billion (US$1.58 billion) in 2017.

Harvey Nash appoints president of technology solutions

Harvey Nash Group plc, a UK-based staffing provider with US operations, named Anna Frazzetto president of technology solutions in North America and Asia Pacific. Frazzetto will also maintain her role as chief digital technology officer, leading digital solutions, outsourcing and offshoring across the North America and APAC regions. 

The newly created role expands Frazzetto’s focus on the overall profitability of the North America and APAC regions, particularly in Australia, where she has worked for more than a decade establishing and leading the business there. She will continue to have ownership of all consulting, offshoring, managed services and outsourcing solutions.

Frazzetto is included in Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2018 Global Power 150 — Women in Staffing list of influential women in the industry, released this week.

Frazzetto, now based in New York, joined Harvey Nash 14 years ago as VP of solutions to create and develop an offshore service line for the US. She established Harvey Nash’s first office in Australia, and then brought the solutions offered there into other APAC markets. This year, Frazzetto and her team expanded into Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. 

Employers plan 17% increase in college hiring; best outlook since 2007

US employers plan to hire 16.6% more college grads from the class of 2019 than they did from the prior year’s class, according to the fall Job Outlook 2019 survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This year marks the best initial hiring outlook since the class of 2007 and follows an outlook in spring of last year that reported an overall hiring decrease of 1.3% for class of 2018 graduates.

This year, the percentage of responding organizations that plan to increase their hires decreased to 38.6% from 43.7% in the year-ago survey. However, those maintaining their numbers rose to 57.4% from 46.7% and only 4.0% plan to cut their number of hires, down from 9.6% and the smallest group with these plans in the past seven years.

Employers that expect to increase their new college hiring cited an improved economy, company growth, anticipated retirements and a focus on early talent/succession planning. Several others in this group reported that they plan to concentrate on converting more interns to full-time hires, thus increasing their overall hiring numbers.

The employers surveyed were members of NACE. The survey is conducted in two parts: fall and spring. This release is based on data collected from Aug. 1 through Oct. 8 from 172 NACE-member organizations.

Gig firms announce investments

PICKUP, a human cloud provider of last-mile delivery services, closed a $5 million funding round and mobile workforce management platform Shyft Technologies raised $6.5 million in Series A funding.

PICKUP’s funding round was led by TDF Ventures and Noro-Moseley Partners; Engage, an Atlanta-based venture fund, also participated in the round. The funds will be used to accelerate market expansion, grow the product platform and add staffing in key areas.

The Dallas-based company’s gig platform enables drivers — dubbed “Good Guys” and comprising a “significant” number of veterans — to deliver oversized retail items, according to Darren Waxman, whose title is “chief customer guy.” PICKUP contracts with national retail brands to provide one-hour delivery of items over 50 pounds to locations within 50 miles of the initial location. Typical items include furniture, mattresses and appliances.

Founded in 2014 by Brenda Stoner, PICKUP now operates in 26 markets nationwide and plans to expand to most major metro markets.

Shyft Technologies’ recent funding round, led by Ignition Partners and Madrona Venture Group, brings the company’s total funding to $8 million. Bob Kelly, managing partner of Ignition Partners, and S. Somasegar, managing director of Madrona Venture Group, will join Shyft’s board of directors as part of this round.

Shyft’s app enables retail and service workers to swap shifts, message each other, and pick up available shifts. Its workforce management tools also include employee scheduling and related task management.

This new capital will be used to further product development and innovation.

Shyft’s mobile workforce management platform for Gap Inc., whose brands include Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Athleta, in addition to other retail and service establishments that are both wholly owned and franchise-based.

“Shyft’s mobile platform is in high demand from global brands and associates to solve their scheduling challenges,” said Shyft Co-founder and CEO Brett Patrontasch. “Antiquated methods such as social media groups, text messages and phone lists aren’t keeping up with today’s hyperconnected workforce.”

Hawaii posts lowest unemployment rate among states at 2.3% in October

Hawaii posted the lowest unemployment rate among all states in October at 2.3%, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Iowa was next at 2.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, followed by New Hampshire at 2.6%.

Alaska recorded the highest jobless rate among all states at 6.4% in October.

Texas and Washington state set new series lows at 3.7% and 4.3%, respectively.

The bureau reported Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10, during the reference periods for both the establishment and household surveys. Response rates for the two surveys were within normal ranges for the affected areas.

Unemployment rates fell in October in six states; the largest was a 0.2 percentage-point decrease in North Carolina.

Two states had month-over-month rate increases: Colorado and Wyoming both posted 0.1 percentage-point increases.

Separately, the US Department of Labor yesterday reported the US four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 1,500 to 215,250 last week. The four-week moving average smooths the volatility of the week-to-week numbers; total initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Nov. 10 rose to 216,000, up 2,000 from the previous week’s level.

People: CHG Healthcare, Malone, PTS Advance, Morisey-Dart and more

CHG Healthcare, the second-largest healthcare staffing firm in the US, named Leslie Snavely as chief digital officer, a new position within the firm. Snavely joined CHG in 2010 and most recently was senior VP of marketing and product management; she has also led the company’s corporate business development team.

Malone Workforce Solutions appointed Ed Coleman to the newly created position of senior VP of sales and marketing. He will be responsible for driving revenue, bringing more focus to each vertical industry the company services, and expanding the company’s national footprint. Malone is based in Louisville, Ky.

PTS Advance, which recently rebranded from PTS Staffing Solutions, appointed Dane Groeneveld as CEO. The company provides staffing services to the energy & infrastructure and life sciences industries. Groeneveld replaced Ronald Stein, the company’s founder, in the CEO position; Stein now moves into the role of ambassador for energy & infrastructure to commit more time to giving back to the industry through education and advocacy.

The Morisey-Dart Group, a nationwide executive search firm based in Naples, Fla., promoted Jill Caballero and Steve Spencer to VP roles. Caballero will have primary responsibility for construction recruitment services in the Southeast US and general business in the local Fort Myers/Naples, Fla., area.

Maxim Healthcare Services, which ranks as the sixth-largest US healthcare staffing firm, announced Chief Medical Officer John Langley has been elected to chair the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Home Care.

Triple Crown Consulting, a technology recruitment firm, appointed Steven Burke as site manager to lead its new office in Costa Mesa, Calif., opening in January 2019. Burke began his career with Triple Crown in 2014 and most recently was a business unit manager. The company currently operates offices in Austin, Texas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; San Jose, Calif.; and Portsmouth, NH.

StevenDouglas, a national executive search firm, consolidated its IT division in South Florida under one leadership structure and appointed Jamie Javorsky, now senior VP of IT, to oversee the search, staffing and consulting practices.

Executive search firm Stanton Chase appointed J. James O’Malley as managing director in its Chicago office and a senior member of the professional services and financial services practice groups. He most recently was a partner and executive search practice leader at TalentRISE, a Chicago-based management consulting company.

Executive search firm ZRG Partners Inc. added Terry Petzold as a managing director to its functional team within the technology practice area; he most recently managed a boutique firm, executing searches globally in the enterprise resource planning and cybersecurity space. And Don Davis joined ZRG as a principal; he started his career at IBM and spent the past 16 years as the talent acquisition leader at Moog Inc., a provider of motion control systems and components to the aerospace and defense markets.

Addressing unfair contract clauses (Staffing Industry Review)

Many staffing firms have experienced financial abuses inflicted on them by clients or VMS/MSP agents, attorney George Reardon writes in the November/December issue of Staffing Industry Review magazine. Originally lifted from traditional purchasing contracts, these ideas are now widespread in staffing deals. Reardon discusses some of the worst financial abuses that you may encounter in our contracts, along with nutshell summaries of how to fix them.