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Swedish industry figurehead passed away

The private employment services industry has lost one of its figureheads. Ulla Murman, ‘mother’ of the Swedish staffing industry, passed away at the age of 93. She was one of Sweden’s first female entrepreneurs and also played a central role in the creation of CIETT – as the World Employment Confederation was called then.

Published on 9th December 2019

Ulla Murman, the mother of the Swedish staffing industry, has passed away at the age of 93. By setting up the company Stockholm Stenografservice – that later become Manpower, Mrs Murman set up in Sweden an industry that is today one of the most well-regulated on the labor market. As a young woman – she started her business at the age of 27 – she had to rely on her enthusiasm and conviction to fight the resistance of those in power at the time.

That a young woman ran a business was already unusual; even more unusual was that her business was sending out secretaries out to clients on assignment. The unions (LO, TCO and AMS) would oppose Mrs Murman and her colleagues throughout the next 40 years. Despite the resistance, she did not give up. She was called eight times to trial for illegal employment services. In two cases, the process went up to the Supreme Court. The irony was that both the prosecutor and the Supreme Court were customers to Stockholm Stenograbyrå even though it was not yet an authorized activity.

One of Sweden’s first female entrepreneurs,  Ulla Murman not only changed history in her own country. She was also a key person in the creation of CIETT – now the World Employment Confederation – as Sweden was one of the founder countries of the organization.

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