The 20 Most And Least Profitable Companies, Per Employee

Most and Least Profit per Employee Fortune 500

The Fortune 500 is an elite club of the biggest American businesses, which combined to generate profits of over $1.2 trillion in 2019.

But how much profit do these companies make on a per employee basis?

This visualization uncovers the answer by comparing the 20 companies with the most and least returns per employee, using calculations from Tipalti (based on the Fortune 500 list).

Top 20: Most Profit per Employee

Diving right in, the companies that make the most money per employee may surprise you.

Housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac take two of the top three spots, bringing in $1.9 million and $1.0 million per employee respectively in 2019.

The two U.S. government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) are major players in the secondary mortgage market, buying and repackaging nearly half the mortgages in the country. The duo was allowed to retain their profits as of October 2019, instead of returning them to the U.S. Treasury.

Company Sector Profit per Employee Profits ($M) Employees
Fannie Mae
(Federal National Mortgage Association)
Financials $1,888,000 $14,160 7,500
KKR Financials $1,448,699 $2,005 1,384
Freddie Mac
(Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
Financials $1,046,721 $7,214 6,892
NRG Energy Energy $969,631 $4,438 4,577
EOG Resources Energy $943,103 $2,735 2,900
Biogen Health Care $795,811 $5,889 7,400
Blackstone Group Financials $705,680 $2,050 2,905
ConocoPhillips Energy $691,250 $7,189 10,400
Enterprise Products Partners Energy $628,904 $4,591 7,300
Visa Business Services $619,487 $12,080



Apple employs 137,000 people—the largest workforce by far among the 40 companies profiled—but still makes $403,328 per employee. Facebook is the only other tech giant to bring in more money per employee at $411,308.

Bottom 20: Least Profit per Employee

On the other end of the spectrum, Uber is one of the most well-known companies currently bleeding profits, losing $316K per employee. In fact, the ride-hailing service lost approximately $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

Company Sector Profit per Employee Profits ($M) Employees
Apache Energy -$1,123,301 -$3,553 3,163
EnLink Midstream Energy -$825,830 -$1,119 1,355
Brighthouse Financial Financials -$556,391 -$740 1,330
PG&E Energy -$332,870 -$7,656 23,000
Frontier Communications Telecommunications -$322,706 -$5,911 18,317
Uber Technologies Technology -$316,208 -$8,506 26,900
Hess Energy -$229,859 -$408 1,775
Coty Household Products -$199,158 -$3,784 19,000
Devon Energy Energy -$197,222 -$355 1,800
Altria Group Food, Beverages & Tobacco -$177,123 -$1,293 7,300

Next 10

COVID-19 has also had an intense effect on some of the companies at the bottom end of the profit per employee spectrum. Chesapeake Energy and Frontier Communications are just two examples that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in recent months—they each lost $134K and $322K per employee in 2019 respectively.

I’m pretty confident we will see more bankruptcies than in any business person’s lifetime. James Hammond, CEO of BankruptcyData

Profit per Employee by Sector

When all the companies in the Fortune 500 are taken into account, sector-specific numbers reveal interesting trends.

Financials bring in the most profit per employee at $116K, while Food and Drug Stores see 17 times less profit at $6.7K per employee. In fact, eight out of the top 20 most profitable companies are found in the financial sector.

Sector Profits per Employee Profits ($M) Employees
Financials $116,228 $378,445 3,256,067
Technology $87,532 $252,836 2,888,490
Energy $85,547 $75,410 881,505
Media $57,947 $21,634 373,333
Health Care $54,679 $145,166 2,654,872
Telecommunications $50,636 $38,251 755,417
F&B incl. Tobacco $41,946 $42,924 1,023,317
Business Services $39,354 $36,835 936,000
Chemicals $27,977 $11,328 404,888
Apparel $26,154 $7,776 297,300
Industrials $25,827 $27,006 1,045,675

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Interestingly, as a whole, the energy sector comes in third place in terms of profit per employee at $86K—that said, nine out of the bottom 20 least profitable companies are also found in this highly volatile industry.

Though the vast majority of businesses impacted by COVID-19 have been small to mid-sized companies, the above calculations also show that Fortune 500 companies are not safe, either.

Disclosure: None

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