Special Report

15 Biggest Employers in the World

10. McDonald’s Corp.
> Total employees: 440,000
> Revenue: $28.1 billion
> Country: United States
> Industry: Restaurants

McDonald’s had some 440,000 employees in its corporate offices and company-owned restaurants at the end of its last fiscal year. It is not clear, however, how many of that total are part-time workers. As a proxy, roughly 86% of employees at competitor Yum! Brands were part-time last year. McDonald’s employee total also does not include workers at franchisee-owned restaurants. In total, 1.9 million people work for either McDonald’s or its franchises.

9. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited
> Total employees: 441,902
> Revenue: $ 91.1 billion
> Country: China
> Industry: Banking

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest commercial bank in China by assets, loans, and total deposits. It holds nearly 20 trillion yuan in total assets while providing banking services to the most popular country in the world and its rapidly growing economy. The bank employs more than 440,000 workers. ICBC provides a vast number of universal banking services necessitating a network of employees to service its 10 trillion yuan in total loans, as well as its large customer base. In 2006, ICBC’s IPO raised more than $19 billion, the world’s largest until it was surpassed by Agricultural Bank of China’s IPO in 2010.

8. ISS A/S
> Total employees: 464,184
> Revenue: $14.5 billion
> Country: Denmark
> Industry: Diversified services

ISS, which began as a security services firm in 1901, has since expanded into facility management as well as cleaning, property, and catering services. The company, based in Denmark, provides outsourcing activities in more than 50 countries. Although not one of the largest companies by revenue, ISS operates in labor-intensive services sectors, necessitating employing many workers. The multinational company employs over 533,000 employees. Of these, 74% are full-time and 26% are part-time employees, leading to a full-time equivalent of 464,184. Staffing costs for ISS make up almost 70% of its total operating costs.

7. Agricultural Bank of China Limited
> Total employees: 478,980
> Revenue: $68.2 billion
> Country: China
> Industry: Banking

In 2010, Agricultural Bank of China held the largest IPO in the world, raising more than $19.2 billion. The bank’s market presence likely contributes to its large number of employees. Agricultural Bank of China has 23,547 domestic branches serving the largest population in the world. As of 2013, the bank had 14 trillion yuan in assets. Although it is publicly traded, the bank is considered one of China’s big-four state-owned banks, alongside ICBC, Bank of China, and China Construction Bank. As of last year, most shares in Agricultural Bank of China were still owned by the Chinese government.

6. Compass Group plc
> Total employees: 506,699
> Revenue: $28.4 billion
> Country: United Kingdom
> Industry: Diversified services

Compass Group is a food service company operating at roughly 50,000 sites in 50 countries. Helping to provide these services are more than 500,000 employees, working for Compass Group at office buildings, schools, sports venues, and even oil rigs. A large share of the company’s employees, over 200,000 in all, worked in North America as of the end of last year. Because of its high reliance on its people, Compass Group spent quite a sizable share of its costs on employees. In 2013, operating costs at the company totalled roughly 16.4 billion pounds, of which 8.1 billion pounds went to employee compensation such as wages, social security payments, and pension costs.