What is an MSP in recruitment?

A Managed Service Programme is when a company outsources all or part of their flexible workforce management. 


How can MSP benefit your business? 

Here are the main reasons more businesses are choosing an MSP:


Types of MSP 

There are a range of models available, depending on your unique requirements:

Master vendor



A Master Vendor (MV) involves having a clearly preferred 1st tier vendor(s), usually the solution provider or a related company, source 60%-95% of your requirements.

The 1st tier is typically given a lead time to focus exclusively on your flexible worker assignment posts, using their enhanced knowledge of your business to find you the right candidates. The remaining 5%-40% of requirements are then sourced by a ‘2nd tier’ of external agencies, which are collaboratively selected from existing and new suppliers to support your business.

Neutral Vendor



A Neutral Vendor (NV) involves having a completely neutral supply chain, with no party being offered extended lead times or a greater level of partnership. 

Roles are released to all agencies at the same time, usually via technology, and there is a ‘first past the post’ model in place, creating a competitive environment.

There can also be ‘tiers’ within a NV model, with qualification to a higher tier being based on performance.


Hybrid MSP



A Hybrid model basically means selecting whichever delivery model is best suited to a particular skill, geography or unique situation, such as unusually short timeframes. 

Hybrid models are typically used where the complexity or variety of the skills required means that an agile approach is needed to ensure full delivery.

For example, you may wish to utilise the benefits of a single engaged partner as a MV for a particular skill or geography, whilst utilising a NV model for another. Mature MSP suppliers should be able to accommodate this.


Contingent RPO



A Contingent RPO essentially means the supply of contingent labour comes via Client branded sourcing activity and client dedicated recruiters.                                                                 

Contingent RPO models are mostly utilised where clients have a very strong attraction brand and are keen to own the intellectual property of the candidates details.

A supply chain (as per Master Vendor) is still likely to be utilised to supplement the client branded sourcing activity.



Discover more in our guide to flexible workforce management 

Flexible Workforce Solutions Brochure


Further information about managed service programmes in recruitment


Find out more

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