ManpowerGroup Inc.

Click the image to learn more. Due to continued growth and expansion, ManpowerGroup opened their new facility along the Milwaukee River in 2007.

Headquartered in downtown Milwaukee, ManpowerGroup, Inc. is one of the world’s largest staffing and workforce development agencies. ManpowerGroup has over 2,900 offices in eighty countries.[1] In 2015, the company placed 3.4 million people in temporary or permanent jobs, averaging over 600,000 employees per day.[2] The company employs about 27,000 permanent employees, of which in mid-2016 about 900 were located at the Milwaukee headquarters.[3] A publically-traded Fortune 500 company, ManpowerGroup had $19 billion in 2015 revenue.[4] Founded in 1948 as a provider of temporary employees, ManpowerGroup now includes four divisions focusing on a variety of temporary and permanent staffing solutions, employee development, and outsourced recruiting services.[5] Despite Manpower’s international success, the company has remained embedded in the Milwaukee economy.

Manpower was the brainchild of Milwaukee lawyers Aaron Scheinfeld and Elmer Winter. Brothers-in-law and partners in the same law firm, Scheinfeld and Winter recognized the need for temporary workers in their firm and their clients’ industries following World War II.[6] In 1948, the partners opened the first Manpower offices in Milwaukee and Chicago.[7] By 1956, Manpower had spread throughout the country and opened its first international offices.[8]

Although Manpower employed both skilled and unskilled laborers from its early days, the image of temporary employment in the 1950s and 1960s became increasingly associated with female office workers.[9] Temporary staffing agencies advertised their services to housewives looking to make extra money while setting their own schedules. Manpower’s “White Glove Girl” advertising campaign, instituted in 1961, helped to further this image of temporary workers.[10] The company supplied white gloves to its temps so that they fit the image portrayed by the advertisements.[11]

Manpower’s rapid expansion and large market share made it attractive for acquisition. In 1976, the Parker Pen Company, headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin, bought an eighty percent share of Manpower. Mitchell Fromstein, a member of Manpower’s executive committee, purchased the remaining twenty percent and was named president of the company.[12] Under Fromstein’s leadership, Manpower became Parker Pen’s chief source of profit and sales by the mid-1980s.[13] In 1986, the pen business was sold and the company was renamed Manpower.[14] One year later, British firm Blue Arrow PLC acquired Manpower in a hostile takeover.[15] When Fromstein was removed as Manpower’s president in 1988, discontent fomented among Manpower’s franchisees.[16] The Blue Arrow board responded by removing their chairman and appointing Fromstein as Blue Arrow CEO.[17] Over the next two years, Fromstein reinstated the Manpower name, returned the company’s registration to the United States, and sold off Blue Arrow’s non-Manpower businesses.[18] Manpower was again independent.

Due to continued expansion and acquisitions in the early twenty-first century, Manpower undertook construction of a new Milwaukee headquarters building. After being based in suburban Glendale for three decades, Manpower moved to the Milwaukee riverfront near the former Schlitz Brewery in 2007.[19] The company received substantial economic incentives from the city, including a publically-financed parking structure.[20] This financing was not without controversy, as some aldermen and city residents questioned the wisdom of providing relocation incentives to companies already headquartered within the greater Milwaukee area.[21]

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ ManpowerGroup Corporate Fact Sheet 2016, ManpowerGroup website, accessed April 14, 2016.
  2. ^  Annual Report 2015, 10, 84, ManpowerGroup, accessed April 20, 2016, direct link at, last accessed August 23, 2017.
  3. ^  ManpowerGroup Corporate Fact Sheet 2016, ManpowerGroup website; Denise Lockwood, “More than 100 Employees Affected by ManpowerGroup Layoffs,” Milwaukee Business Journal, January 16, 2014, accessed April 20, 2016.
  4. ^ ManpowerGroup Corporate Fact Sheet 2016, ManpowerGroup website.
  5. ^  Annual Report 2015, 3, ManpowerGroup.
  6. ^History,” ManpowerGroup, accessed April 14, 2016; James D. Scheinfeld, A History of Manpower, Inc., 1948-1976 (s.l.: Shay Publishing LLC, 2006), 2-3.
  7. ^ Scheinfeld, A History of Manpower, 4; Louise Hodgson, Elmer L. Winter, the Manpower Man (Minneapolis: T.S. Denison & Co., 1969), 51-54.
  8. ^History,” ManpowerGroup.
  9. ^ Scheinfeld, A History of Manpower, 6; Erin Hatton, The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011), 22.
  10. ^ Hatton, The Temp Economy, 32.
  11. ^ Scheinfeld, A History of Manpower, 29.
  12. ^ Avrum D. Lank, “Manpower and Fromstein Write New Parker Chapter,” Milwaukee Sentinel, July 3, 1984,
  13. ^ Lank, “Manpower and Fromstein Write New Parker Chapter,”
  14. ^ “Janesville Due to Lose Parker Headquarters,” Milwaukee Sentinel, January 7, 1986,
  15. ^ Michele Derus, “Manpower Inc. Says Yes to $1.33 Billion Bid,” Milwaukee Sentinel, August 22, 1987,
  16. ^ “Manpower Group Upset with Leaders,” Milwaukee Sentinel, December 15, 1988,
  17. ^ Jack Norman, “Fromstein Returns to Lead Blue Arrow,” Milwaukee Journal, January 13, 1989,
  18. ^ Jack Norman, “Manpower Shops for an Address,” Milwaukee Journal, January 30, 1990,; Crocker Stephenson, “Manpower Sells Off 6 Subsidiaries,” Milwaukee Sentinel, June 5, 1990,
  19. ^ “History,” ManpowerGroup; Tom Daykin, “Manpower Plans Downtown Move,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 22, 2005,
  20. ^ Tom Daykin, “Council Supports Manpower Move,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 8, 2006,
  21. ^ Tom Daykin, “City Hopes Manpower Spurs Growth,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 23, 2005,

For Further Reading

Hatton, Erin. The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011.

Hodgson, Louise. Elmer L. Winter, the Manpower Man. Minneapolis, MN: T.S. Denison & Co., 1969.

Scheinfeld, James D. A History of Manpower, Inc., 1948-1976. s.l.: Shay Publishing LLC, 2006.


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