The recent narrative around employment patterns has been one of loss: Covid layoffs, the Great Resignation and a spate of post-pandemic redundancies that put over 104,000 tech industry workers out of work over the past year.
Of course, the truth is more complicated — and ever-evolving. As of October 2023, unemployment in the U.S. was at a nine-month low amidst ongoing labor shortages. And those tech redundancies are somewhat industry-specific, coming in the hangover of the pandemic tech boom. Elsewhere, employers are creating new jobs and doing their best to fill them.
In August, the number of job openings advertised jumped by the highest number in two years, with particular growth among “[s]mall businesses, with less than 10 employees” and “the professional and business services.” Companies are recruiting in more focused and strategic ways and being more imaginative about finding the talent they need. In a recent ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, “employers said they are more willing to bring aboard candidates who are older and seeking employment changes (34%), have been unemployed due to caretaking responsibilities (27%), have non-linear career paths (27%) or are long-term unemployed (26%).”
So, which companies have hired the most new employees during this period? We measured the number of employees at top companies on LinkedIn over the past year to see how many joined and left — and which firms achieved the highest net employee growth overall.
Switch On Business ranked major U.S. companies based on the change in total employees as reported on LinkedIn from September 2022 to September 2023. Due to the absence of a major company with positive growth, West Virginia was excluded from state maps.
- Apple is the company with the highest employee growth, taking on 95,102 new staff over the past year.
- WorldQuant, a Connecticut financial services company, has the highest employee growth rate, expanding by 60.19% over the past year.
- JPMorgan Chase has the highest employee growth in New York State, with 28,100 new staff.
- Moderna has the highest employee growth rate in Massachusetts, expanding by 46.24% over the past year.
First, we looked at the fastest-growing American workforces overall. Measured by number count alone, big tech companies account for one in four of the top twenty. However, in Amazon’s case, it’s worth noting that alongside Software Engineer, Amazon’s most common job titles are Fulfillment Associate and Warehouse Associate (i.e., not tech roles). Amazon’s warehouses “typically experience more than 100 percent turnover in a given year in part because of the strenuous working conditions,” according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, an internal report found that if business continues as usual, “Amazon will deplete the available labor supply in the U.S. network by 2024.”
While McDonald’s increased its U.S. workforce by 93,817, or just over one-fifth, Apple grew the most overall over the past year. The tech giant saw a net increase of 95,102 employees in the year to September 2023. The company has paid particular attention to retention among its retail staff, offering raises of 2% to 10% at the start of 2022 and later doubling the number of sick days and increasing vacation and parental leave for retail employees.
When employee growth is calculated as a percentage, the Financial Services sector stands out, with four companies among the top 20. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that “employment in business and financial occupations is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations from 2022 to 2032,” with around 911,400 new openings each year.
Investment firm WorldQuant has had the biggest proportional increase. WorldQuant grew its workforce by 60.19%, adding 579 new employees over the past 12 months, and has announced the opening of two new offices in Florida in 2023. This is significantly faster year-on-year growth than second-placed Apple, which employs 180 times the number of people employed by WorldQuant. Their proximity demonstrates how small and big companies alike are undergoing rapid workforce change.
New Jersey’s Automatic Data Processing and Massachusetts’ Moderna Among Biggest Growers at State Level
Next, we identified the company with the highest employee growth in each U.S. state — except West Virginia, which lacked a major company with positive growth. The first map indicates the biggest growers by overall number, emphasizing each state’s biggest companies. The second map shows the companies that grew by the greatest percentage, indicating high proportional growth and giving smaller companies a chance to shine.
Most companies that increased their workforce by five figures this year are household names. The exception is New Jersey’s Automatic Data Processing (ADP), an HR software and services company that will celebrate its 75th birthday next year.
The Fortune 500 company saw profits rise 13.5% year on year and acquired workflow automation providers Sora and its team in 2023. This is part of an upward curve in ADP’s fortunes, “driven by strong demand for the company’s human capital management and HR outsourcing services, robust retention rates, as well as higher interest income on client funds, amid surging interest rates,” according to Forbes.
In Massachusetts, Cambridge-based pharmaceutical firm Moderna has enjoyed a nearly 50% rise in employee levels this year. This gives it the third largest proportional growth of any top company on the map, after the smaller WorldQuant and far larger second-placed Apple.
Moderna is best known as the provider of one of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The company currently has 6,240 employees, based on LinkedIn figures. Moderna recently announced plans to establish new offices on the West Coast and take on 2,000 new employees globally “as it aims to scale up development of new products amid declining COVID vaccine sales,” according to Reuters.
Growth in employee numbers can be a good indicator of a company’s health, as well as its ambitions. But size isn’t everything. And the mass layoffs at big tech companies have been explained, in part, by extended periods of “vanity” recruitment — whereby bosses employ big teams to give the appearance of success and importance, paying out bonuses hand over fist to prevent talent departing to rival firms.
A better metric for success might be ‘meaningful retention.’ Numbers aren’t always as important as a company’s inner growth, with employees undergoing high engagement and professional development and finding mobility within the firm according to their experiences. A study from Gallup found that “low engagement teams typically endure turnover rates that are 18% to 43% higher than highly engaged teams” and that “companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS).”
‘Focused and strategic’ recruitment coupled with responsive retention tactics may be smarter than brute growth. If and when the moment does come for your business to build rapidly, you’ll already have solid and flexible foundations on which to do so.
To determine the American companies with the highest employment growth, we reviewed data on employee counts from LinkedIn. Major companies were ranked based on the raw change and the percentage change in total employees as reported on Linkedin from September 2022 to September 2023. Only companies included in either Zippia’s ranking of the largest companies in each state, the 69th Fortune 500 list or the Wikipedia category lists of companies headquartered in each state were considered. Due to the absence of a major company with positive growth, West Virginia was excluded from state maps.
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