On Assignment (NYSE: ASGN) and 51job (NASDAQ:JOBS) are both mid-cap business services companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, dividends, risk, institutional ownership, profitabiliy and valuation.

Volatility and Risk

On Assignment has a beta of 2.15, indicating that its stock price is 115% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, 51job has a beta of 1.31, indicating that its stock price is 31% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares On Assignment and 51job’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
On Assignment 4.11% 17.30% 8.49%
51job 31.03% 14.53% 9.37%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares On Assignment and 51job’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
On Assignment $2.48 billion 1.10 $256.09 million $1.90 27.22
51job $359.92 million 4.01 $105.86 million $1.62 29.65

On Assignment has higher revenue and earnings than 51job. On Assignment is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than 51job, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

91.2% of On Assignment shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 42.8% of 51job shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.4% of On Assignment shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for On Assignment and 51job, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
On Assignment 0 0 2 0 3.00
51job 0 0 0 0 N/A

On Assignment presently has a consensus target price of $56.00, indicating a potential upside of 8.30%. Given On Assignment’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe On Assignment is more favorable than 51job.

Summary

On Assignment beats 51job on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About On Assignment

On Assignment, Inc. is a global provider of in-demand, skilled professionals in the technology, life sciences and creative sectors. The Company matches resumes with job descriptions to match people they know into positions they understand for temporary, contract-to-hire, and direct hire assignments. It operates through two segments. The Apex segment provides technical, scientific and creative professionals for temporary, contract-to-hire and permanent placement positions and consulting services to clients across the United States. The Apex segment includes Apex Systems, Lab Support and Creative Circle. The Oxford segment provides specialized niche staffing, permanent placement and consulting services in select skill and geographic markets. The Oxford segment includes Oxford Global Resources, CyberCoders and Life Sciences Europe. The Company has a network of branch offices throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

About 51job

51job, Inc. is a holding company. The Company is a provider of integrated human resource services in China. The Company focuses on online recruitment advertising. The Company operates over three Websites, including www.51job.com, www.yingjiesheng.com and www.51jingying.com, which are utilized by a base of corporate employers, reach an audience of job seekers and aggregate job information from over 100 cities across China. The Company provides a range of human resource services in the categories, such as recruitment advertising services, including online recruitment services provided by its Websites, and other human resource related services, including business process outsourcing, training, campus recruitment, professional assessment tools, salary and other human resource related surveys, human resource conferences and executive search services.

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