Special Report

15 Biggest Employers in the World

15. Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Limited
> Total employees: 413,000
> Revenue: $7.6 billion
> Country: Taiwan
> Industry: Footwear

Yue Yuen is a major manufacturer for international shoe brands, including Adidas, Reebok, and Nike, among others. Virtually all of Yue Yuen’s manufacturing takes place in three countries: mainland China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Alongside its manufacturing business, which accounted for nearly $5.9 billion in revenue, Yue Yuen also operates a retail network, which accounted for $1.7 billion in sales. Earlier this year, Yue Yuen workers at the company’s factory in Dongguan, China went on strike to protest the company’s benefit contribution policies. Yue Yuen agreed to increase contributions for workers in China’s Guangdong province.

14. Sodexo S.A.
> Total employees: 427,981
> Revenue: $24.3 billion
> Country: France
> Industry: Hospitality

Sodexo provides food, cleaning, security, and maintenance services for private corporations, government agencies, schools, hospitals, military bases, and correctional facilities. Today, Sodexo’s services reach an average of 75 million daily consumers at more than 33,000 locations in 80 countries across the globe. According to Sodexo, more than 95% of its employees have daily, direct contact with company clients. With such scope, it’s no wonder Sodexo employs almost 428,000 workers.

13. OAO Gazprom
> Total employees: 429,000
> Revenue: $156.6 billion
> Country: Russia
> Industry: Oil & gas

Gazprom is one of the world’s largest natural gas companies. The company is also majority-owned by the Russian government. By measures of sheer size, few businesses can match Gazprom. The company’s 429,000 employees help run Russia’s largest publicly traded entity by market capitalization. Additionally, the company claims to possess the largest reserves of natural gas in the world, as well as the world’s largest gas transmission system. Much of Europe relies on natural gas supplied by the company and a large portion Gazprom’s exports flow to Western Europe. Among the countries that rely on the company’s natural gas is Ukraine, a fact that has garnered significant attention as Ukraine and Russia’s relationship has deteriorated.

12. International Business Machines Corporation
> Total employees: 431,212
> Revenue: $99.7 billion
> Country: United States
> Industry: Technology & consulting

IBM is the third largest employer headquartered in the U.S., trailing only McDonald’s and Wal-Mart Stores. It had more than 431,000 employees worldwide as of the end of 2013. This total actually marks a slight drop from 2012, when the company had slightly more than 434,000 employees across the globe. IBM is widely forecast to cut even more jobs this year, as it lays off workers and shifts jobs to Lenovo as part of the sale of its x86 enterprise server business. This year’s layoffs are part of a $1 billion restructuring the company initiated earlier this year.

11. Deutsche Post AG
> Total employees: 435,285
> Revenue: $76.4 billion
> Country: Germany
> Industry: Logistics

Deutsche Post is the former postal agency of the German government. In 1995, the company, along with Deutsche Postbank and Deutsche Telekom, began the process of transitioning from government agencies into private companies. In 2000, Deutsche Post became publicly traded. Today, the company claims it is the world’s leading logistics company. Logistics and postal service companies are often large and have many employees. In fact, the United States Postal Service, which is part of the U.S. government, had 618,000 total employees last year. Unlike the USPS, however, Deutsche Post is profitable. While its American counterpart posted a net loss of nearly $5 billion, Deutsche Post reported more than 2 billion euro in profit last year.