Priceonomics

Each year, we release our Revenue Per Employee rankings for the S&P 500, the 500 largest American companies listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. Revenue Per Employee (RPE) can be a measure of how efficiently companies utilize human capital. In this report, we will examine the top performers and the worst performers and compare to our rankings from last year.

Before we dive into the company rankings, we looked at the average Revenue per Employee by sector, to see from a broader perspective which industry has the highest human capital efficiency.

Energy & Utilities remains the top performing sector in terms of Revenue per Employee and the only sector with an average Revenue per Employee greater than $1M. Healthcare, Mobile & Telecommunications, and Financial Services sectors are also performing well.

In addition to the absolute numbers, we also analyzed the average growth rate across sectors since FY17.

All sectors saw positive growth in Revenue per Employee in FY18 compared to FY17. Food & Beverage, although the lowest performer in terms of Revenue per Employee at $95K per employee, had the highest growth at 22% year-over-year. Energy & Utilities, the top performer for FY18 Revenue per Employee at an average of $1.7M per employee, also exhibited high growth at 12% year-over-year.

Next, we look more closely at how specific companies are performing. The table below shows the top 25 companies by Revenue per Employee (Revenue per Employee) in 2018 in the S&P 500, along with how their Revenue per Employee compared to 2017.

Energy company, Valero Energy Corporation, tops the chart at $11.4M in Revenue per Employee at the company. Energy companies, in general, dominate this ranking for their human capital efficiency, with 17 out of the top 25 companies in the Energy sector, including Phillips 66Cabot Oil & GasEOGHollyFrontierONEOK, and Exxon Mobil. Three Healthcare companies, AmerisourceBergenCardinal Health, and McKesson, appear on the list, as well as two Financials companies, Everest Re Group and CBOE Holdings. The sole Technology company to appear on the list of top 25 companies by Revenue per Employee was video subscription giant, Netflix.

In contrast, the table below shows the 25 companies with the lowest Revenue per Employee in 2018 in the S&P 500, along with how their Revenue per Employee compared to 2017.

Similar to the rankings in 2017, Consumer Discretionary companies top the rankings of worst performing companies in terms of Revenue per Employee. These companies typically require larger employee headcount to staff brick-and-mortar locations to support their operations. For example, food service companies, like Darden RestaurantsChipotle Mexican GrillStarbucks, and McDonald’s, all appear at the top of the rankings with the lowest Revenue per Employee. Similarly, as we explored in our previous report, consultancy companies, like Accenture and Cognizant, require large teams to staff engagements and performance is largely tied to how many consultants they have to offer services to clients.

Next, we look at which companies are making the largest increases in their human capital efficiency. The table below shows the 25 companies with the highest growth in Revenue Per Employee in 2018 compared to 2017.

Nektar Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, tops the list with 219% growth in their Revenue per Employee since 2017. Energy companies, which were the top performers in terms of absolute numbers, also rank highly for growth in Revenue Per Employee. Interestingly, Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, was able to increase their Revenue per Employee by 70.8% in the past year. However, this was actually due to a large decrease in headcount from 50,354 in 2017 to 32,076 in 2018, according to their annual reports. 

The table below shows the 25 companies with the greatest decline in Revenue Per Employee in 2018 compared to 2017.

Two payments companies, Total System Services (known as TSYS) and Global Payments, appeared high on the list for largest decline in Revenue per Employee since 2017. Hasbro, the large toy manufacturer, saw an 18.2% drop in Revenue per Employee in the wake of the Toys-R-Us liquidation. The Healthcare sector, although with high performance in absolute numbers of Revenue per Employee, did also see large decreases in Revenue per Employee, representing 7 out of the 25 worst performing companies.

Finally, we look at Technology companies to see which out of the S&P 500 Technology companies had the highest Revenue per Employee for 2018.

Apple led the rankings, as the only Technology company with over $2M in revenue generated per employee at the company. Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, both appeared high on the list with over $1M in revenue per employee. Overall, the average RPE for the Technology sector was just under $700,000 and these Technology companies saw 7.3% growth on average from 2017 to 2018. 

Key takeaways:

  • The fastest growing companies in terms of Revenue per Employee from 2017 to 2018 were: Nektar TherapeuticsPioneer Natural Resources CompanyPVHCabot Oil & Gas Corporation, and Sempra Energy. Each saw over 70% growth in Revenue per Employee since the previous fiscal year, with Nektar Therapeutics topping the ranking at 219% growth. 
  • Energy companies continue to have high revenues compared to employee headcount, representing almost 70% of the top 25 companies with highest Revenue per Employee. Energy & Utilities also had the highest average Revenue per Employee on the sector level, and also saw high growth since FY17.
  • Consumer Discretionary companies have high requirements for human capital to support revenues and therefore, have low Revenue per Employee. Food & Beverage companies, including franchise restaurant companies, had the lowest Revenue per Employee on the sector level, but did see high growth at 22% since FY17.

Note: We excluded a handful of organizations, primarily real estate investment trusts, from our rankings to eliminate a skew in our data, as these companies have very high revenues and low employee headcount due to the nature of their business. The companies we excluded from the list include: Host Hotels & ResortsWelltowerHCPFederal Realty Investment TrustVentasRealty Income CorporationBoston PropertiesAlexandriaDuke Realty GroupKimco Realty Corporation, and Regency Centers



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