Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries shed more than 1,300 employees during 2009-10 - making it the second straight financial year of declining workforce - while registering a surge on the profitability curve.
The company had 23,365 employees as on March 31, 2010, down by 1,314 from 24,679 employees at the end of the previous financial year, according to the company's annual report for 2009-10.
Prior to this, RIL's headcount had dipped by 808 employees during 2008-09, a period marked with massive job losses in India and across the world.
RIL is one of the biggest employers among the non-IT private sector companies in the country.
Its profit after tax rose to Rs 16,236 crore (Rs 162.36 billion) in FY10 from Rs 15,309 crore (Rs 153.09 billion) in 2008-09. Its revenues jumped to Rs 2,02,860 crore (Rs 2,028.6 billion) from Rs 1,48,388 crore (Rs 1,483.88 billion) in the comparable period.
During 2008-09, RIL's total headcount had declined for the first time in six years, despite the company hiring more than 1,500 engineers that year.
The steepest fall so far has been in 2003-04, when the headcount fell from 12,915 to 11,358 employees. During 2007-08, the headcount rose by close to 791 employees and by a massive 12,156 people in 2006-07.
Along with its subsidiaries such as Reliance Retail, the company had a total workforce in excess of 48,000 at the end of 2007-08, according to the company's annual filing for that year for its shareholders.
RIL has not disclosed specific numbers of employees of subsidiaries for the years 2008-09 and 2009-10, a period when there had been various reports of heavy job losses in its retail and SEZ businesses.
RIL said its average employee age currently stands at 41 years, which it aims to bring down and "invigorate the youth to take the organisation forward over the next few decades."
"The enterpreneurial spirit has been a hallmark of the organisation. The company continues to nurture this as it grows exponentially," it added.
The average age of employees at the company had increased from 34 years to 39 years during 2008-09.
The lower headcount during 2009-10 coincided with a decline in employee cost also, which fell to Rs 2,350 crore (Rs 23.5 billion) from Rs 2,398 crore (Rs 23.98 billion) in 2008-09. Prior to this, the employee cost had risen from Rs 2,119 crore (Rs 21.19 billion) in 2007-08.
The total employee cost for the latest year included Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) towards expenditure incurred on voluntary retirement scheme and special separation scheme announced for the staff of certain units.
In 2008-09 also, Rs 111 crore (Rs 1.11 billion) paid towards a voluntary separation scheme for the employees of Patalganga unit during the year, when about 430 employees accepted the VSS offer.