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Measuring business success: Leading European companies by profit per employee

Hapag Lloyd earned £1,058,898.94 per employee, which is almost triple that of Shell in second place.

Hapag-Lloyd AG is a German international shipping and container transportation company. The ship is the Osaka Express at Port of Rotterdam. Image by Alfvan Beem (CC0).
Hapag-Lloyd AG is a German international shipping and container transportation company. The ship is the Osaka Express at Port of Rotterdam. Image by Alfvan Beem (CC0).

How measure the success of a company? Is this by its ethos? Its social capital? There are many measures. One is to base ‘success’ purely on profit and one way of expressing this is profit per employee.

Revenue per employee can measure how efficiently a particular firm utilises its employees. Ideally, a company wants the highest ratio of revenue per employee possible. This is because a higher ratio generally indicates greater productivity.

A new survey finds that Hapag-Lloyd is the most profitable company in the European Union (plus the U.K.), based on this measure, and the firm makes over £1 million per employee. Shell is in second with £365,041 per employee. It would appear that ethical considerations are somewhat removed from considerations of profitability, since other energy giants, BP and ENI come in third and fourth.

  The survey comes from the global fintech group Plus500, who compared the top 100 companies in the Europe Union (by market cap), looking at profit in 2022 and dividing by the number of employees that work within the company.

The outcome was:

  1 – Hapag-Lloyd – Germany

Hapag Lloyd is a German international shipping and container transportation company. With over 250 vessels Hapag Lloyd employs 12,499 land staff and 1,609 sea staff. In 2022 Hapag Lloyd recorded profits of over £14 billion – a very strong financial performance, and almost £6 billion more than 2021. This means that the company earned £1,058,898.94 per employee, which is almost triple that of Shell in second place.

Profit per employee: £1,058,898.

2 – Shell

Shell plc is a British multinational oil and gas company. Shell doubled its 2021 profits making £31 billion in 2022 and has over 86,000 employees worldwide, which means per employee the company makes £365,041 of profit per employee.

Profit per employee: £365,041.

3 – BP

In third is another British multinational oil and gas company. Profiting £22 billion in 2022, much like Shell, BP’s profits also doubled from 2021. BP does have slightly fewer employees than Shell with 67,000 worldwide. This means per each employee BP made £325,081.

Profit per employee: £325,081.

4 – ENI

In fourth is another multinational energy corporation, and another one of the seven ‘supermajor’ oil companies, this time originating in Italy. ENI profited £10 billion in 2022 with only about 32,000 employees globally. This equates to £324,293 per employee.

 Profit per employee: £324,293.

5 – Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto Group is an Anglo-Australian company that is the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation. In 2022 profit was around £16 billion which was down from 2021’s figures of around £22 billion. This means that in 2022 each of Rio Tinto’s 53,000 employees made £299,581 profit.

Profit per employee: £299,581.

The top ten are:

RankCompanyMarket Cap (£)Share PriceProfit (£)Number of employees (2022)Profit per employee (£)
1Hapag-Lloyd31,350,000,000155.5114,930,475,00014,1001,058,898.94
2Shell161,740,000,0002376.0031,393,526,00086,000365,041
3BP81,760,000,000478.8321,975,475,60067,600325,081
4ENI40,420,000,00024.0910,438,343,08432,188324,293
5Rio Tinto77,360,000,0004611.4016,095,288,80653,726299,581
6Maersk26,540,000,0001563.8424,248,848,000104,000233,162
7Ferrari42,573,000,000244.811,035,870,3844,556227,364
8Ørsted175,207,000,00020.201,735,036,0508,027216,150
9Hermes144,993,000,0001606.953,892,355,29219,686197,722
10British American Tobacco56,470,000,0002,519.808,257,906,44050,937162,120

  Profitability per employee metrics are used by investors for taking a position in or trading the stock a firm.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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