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The world's largest employers

Last updated on: December 13, 2010 17:11 IST

The world's largest employers

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The world over, economies are beginning to look up: some quite rapidly while others at a rather sluggish pace. And employment generation too has begun at a healthy rate almost everywhere, barring a few hard-hit economies in Europe.

While companies in India are on a hiring spree, as in many other Asian nations, it is interesting to note who the world's biggest employers are.

Colossal organisations, both in the private as also the public sector, provide employment to millions of people across the world.

So here is a list of list some giant enterprises which are the world's largest employers.

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Photographs: Reuters
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1. Wal-Mart Stores, US: 2,100,000

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc runs a chain of department stores across the globe.

Founded by Sam Walton in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962, Wal-mart is the largest grocery retailer in the United States. It also owns and operates the North American company, Sam's Club.

Wal-Mart operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the United Kingdom as Asda, and in Japan as Seiyu. It has wholly owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Wal-Mart's operations can be fragmented into three divisions: Wal-Mart Stores US, Sam's Club, and Wal-Mart International.

The company does business in nine different retail formats: supercenters, food and drugs, general merchandise stores, bodegas (small markets), cash and carry stores, membership warehouse clubs, apparel stores, soft discount stores and restaurants.

Wal-Mart's operations have often come under the scanner for its huge foreign product sourcing, low employee health insurance enrollment, resistance to union representation, alleged sexism, etc.

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2. Indian Railways: 1,632,659

Indian Railways is the single largest employer in India and the fourth largest the world over, with 1.42 million employees. The state-owned Raliways are also on the verge of hiring more people soon.

Recently, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Indian Railways, one of the world's largest and busiest networks, will be filling up close to 170,000 vacant posts. Once that happens, Railways could well become the world's second largest employer.

Indian Railways transports close to 20 million passengers everyday.

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3. China National Petroleum Corporation: 1,629,992

The China National Petroleum Corporation is a state-owned fuel-producing corporation and the largest integrated oil and gas company in the People's Republic of China.

CNPC, China's flagship energy enterprise, plays an important role in China's oil and gas production and supply.

The company produces 2.75 million barrels of crude oil and 5.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

It has 3.06 billion metric tons of oil reserves and 2,320.1 billion cubic metres of gas reserve.

CNPC's oil and gas production account respectively for 57.7 per cent and 78.3 per cent of China's total output.

In 2005, there were explosions at a CNPC owned petrochemical plant causing six deaths, a mass evacuation, and a massive oil spill over the Songhua River.

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4. National Health Service, Britain: 1,626,000

In Britain, one in every 23 persons from the working population, is employed by the National Health Service.

Over 1.626 million people work for the NHS, making England a nation of health workers, if not that of shopkeepers.

The number of NHS employees has constantly risen since the last 14 years, with as many as 59,000 people joining NHS in 2009 alone.

The NHS employs 386,400 nurses, 109,000 doctors and 122,100 scientists and other therapists.

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5. China's State Grid Corp: 1,533,800

State Grid Corporation of China was founded on December 29, 2002 as a pilot state-owned corporation by the State Council. SGCC's core business is to build and operate power grids and provide power supply.

The company has registered capital of RMB 200 billion yuan and service area covering 26 provinces.

By the end of 2005, SGCC accumulated a total asset of RMB 1176.7 billion Yuan with a debt-asset ratio of 61.96 per cent, and possessed 195,899 km of 220KV and above transmission lines with a transforming capacity up to 616.64 GVA. SGCC serves 128 million customers.

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6. Sinopec: 639,690

Sinopec, or the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, is one of the major petroleum companies in China.

Sinopec's business includes oil and gas exploration, refining, and marketing; production and sales of petrochemicals, chemical fibers, chemical fertilisers, and other chemical products; storage and pipeline transportation of crude oil and natural gas; import, export and import/export agency business of crude oil, natural gas, refined oil products, petrochemicals, and other chemicals.

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7. Deutsche Post, Germany: 502,545 employees

Deutsche Post -- also called Deutsche Post DHL -- is the world's largest logistics group, says Wikipedia.

Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, it employs 502,545 employees worldwide.

It boasts of revenues in excess of $100 billion. After the German mail body, Deutsche Bundespost, Deutsche Post was born. Over 30 per cent of its shares are held by Germany's KfW bank, and it is listed on DAX stock market.

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8.  Siemens Group, Germany: 461,000 employees

Europe's largest engineering fiant, Siemens, is a major multinational company.

It employs over 461,000 people. It headquarters are located in Berlin, Munich and Erlangen.

Siemens is engaged in three major business sectors: industry, energy, and healthcare.

Siemens is listed on the Frankfurt and New York stock exchanges.

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9.  McDonald's, US: 447,000 employees

McDonald's Corporation, the world's largest chain of fast food restaurants, is also a major employment generator.

Globally the burger chain employs close to 447,000 people.

McDonald's jobs are not very high paying and thus jobs that do not pay very well are at times referred to as McJobs.

McDonald's restaurants typically offer burgers, chicken products, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, shakes, and desserts.

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10.  Carrefour, France: 440,479

Carrefour is a French hypermarket chain with outlets worldwide. Carrefour means 'crossroads' in French.

It is the largest hypermarket chain in terms of size, and the second largest retail group in revenue and third largest in profit after Wal-Mart and Tesco.

Carrefour operates mainly in Europe, China, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and in the Dominican Republic, but also has shops in North Africa and other parts of Asia.

The first Carrefour store opened in June 1957, in suburban Annecy.

The group was created by Marcel Fournier, Denis Defforey and Jacques Defforey and grew into a chain from this first sales outlet. In 1999 it merged with Promodes, known as Continent, one of its major competitors in the French market.

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11.  Compass Group, UK: 410,074

Britain's Compass Group is a contract foodservice and support services multinational company.

It is the world's largest contract foodservice company and has operations in over 50 countries, according to Wikipedia.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, the group employs over 410,000 people.

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12.  United Parcel Service, US: 407,000

The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the US responsible for providing postal service in the country.

In the US, it is often referred to as the Post Office, Postal Service, or US Mail.

The USPS operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 260,000 vehicles.

The company's employees deliver mail at an average yearly cost of $235 per residence as of 2009.

Fierce competition from Internet, e-mail and private outfits like United Parcel Service and FedEx has forced USPS to adjust its business strategy and to modernise itself of late.

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13. Foxconn, China: Over 400,000

Foxconn is the world's biggest contract electronics maker. Terry Gou is the chairman of the $46-billion Taiwanese technology giant that employs over 400,000 workers.

Foxconn is part of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Company.

Foxconn manufactures iPhones, iPads and spare parts for Apple Inc, desktop computers and parts for Hewlett-Packard and Dell, mobile phones for Motorola and other electronic goods for many other top brands, including Sony, Nokia and Microsoft.

Foxconn factories resemble mini-cities but its work ethics, managerial practices besides poor salaries were stated to be reasons for recurring suicides, which the company was unable to stem.

Newspaper reports have for long stated that Foxconn is a very secretive company which uses a dictatorial methods and military-style discipline to bullying its army of workers.

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14.  Gazprom, Russia: 396,571

Gas giant Gazprom is the largest enterprise in Russia.

In 1989, when the erstwhile USSR's ministry of gas industry was corporatised, Gazprom was born.

Gazprom generates close to 20 per cent of the world's natural gas.

It has gas and oil fields across the world. Gazprom has over 396,500 employees.

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15.  DaimlerChrysler, Germany: 382,724 employees

The world's 13th largest car manufacturer, Daimler (earlier called DaimlerChrysler) employs over 382,700 people.

The company is known for its high precision and super-performance cars, trucks and buses. The company also has big interests in aerospace.

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16. Hitachi, Japan: 355,879

Japanese technology and services multinational Hitachi has its headquarters in Tokyo.

It is the world's third largest technological major in terms of revenue.

The tech giant employs more than 355,800 people.

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17. China Telecom Corp. Ltd: 285,105

China Telecom Corp. Ltd. is the largest fixed line service and mobile telecommunication provider in the People's Republic of China.

As of April 2008, the company provided services to 216 million subscribers.

The company was formerly a state-owned monopoly, but now divided into largely autonomous provincial branches.

China Telecom has been listed on the Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges since 2002, but the Chinese government still retains majority ownership.

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The People's Liberation Army, China: 2,255,000

Some studies also take into account national armies as employers and going by that parameter China stands ahead of everyone else. The PLA would thus be the world's largest employer in the world.

China, an economic superpower, is also a military powerhouse. People's Liberation Army, the Chinese army, employs over 2.255 million active personnel.

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Indian Army: 1,325,000

The Indian Army employs over 1,325,000 active personnel.

The Indian Army is the world's second largest army after China. If taken along with business enterprises, the Indian Army would be the world's seventh largest employer.

This is just the land forces component of the Indian Armed Forces and does not take into account the Indian Air Force and the Navy.

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North Korean Army: 1,106,000

The Korean People's Army, also known as the Inmin Gun, employs over 1,106,000 active personnel, making it the world's third largest army.

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Russian Army: 1,027,000

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation employs about 1,027,000 troops.

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US Army: 549,015

The United States Army is the branch of US armed forces that engages in land-based military operations. It employs over 549,000 soldiers.


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