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Profit per Employee

>> HR Glossary/  HR Metrics / Profit per Employee

What is profit per employee?

Profit per employee is a key financial metric calculated by dividing a company’s yearly profits by its number of employees. It provides an indication of how much profit, on average, an organization generates for each employee.

Companies use this metric to determine their overall financial success, productivity, and efficiency. For HR professionals, profit per employee helps assess the effectiveness of workforce management and guides strategic decisions related to staffing and development.

Profit per employee by industry

Profit per employee can vary widely across industries based on factors such as business models and labor needs. Here is a brief overview of this metric for various industries:

  • Household products: Leading the way, this industry has the highest profit per employee ratio, $89,82K, due to the efficient use of its workforce and recurring purchases of everyday consumer goods.
  • Energy: This sector also enjoys a significant ratio, $80.51K, because of its high-value assets, such as power plants and refineries, which have generated significant profits despite its large workforce.
  • Technology: Tech companies also enjoy a high profit per employee, $76.58K, because of factors like highly-skilled employees, high-value products and services, and their potential for automation that reduces certain labor needs.
  • Financials: Another substantial ratio, $62.02K, likely due to high-value transactions and services provided by companies within this industry​​.
  • Food, Beverages, and Tobacco: Compared to financial and tech companies, this industry typically has a lower ratio, $36.41K, due to the lower profit margins of the products and their manufacturing and distribution processes, which require a larger workforce.

Factors affecting the profit per employee ratio

There are many factors that influence an organization’s profit per employee ratio. Some main causes include:

  • Employee productivity: Employees’ productivity levels play a vital role in determining the profit generated per employee, emphasizing the importance of efficient work processes and resource allocation.
  • Industry type: Different industries have different labor requirements and profit margins. For example, tech companies might have a higher profit per employee compared to retail businesses due to lower labor intensity and higher profit margins.
  • Labor costs: High labor costs can reduce profit per employee, especially if the wages are not matched by equally high productivity. This is often seen in industries where skilled labor is expensive.
  • Technology and automation: Investment in technology and automation can significantly improve productivity, allowing fewer employees to generate more output and, therefore, more profit.
  • Management practices: Effective management can improve employee productivity and morale, which in turn can boost profit per employee. Conversely, poor management can lead to inefficiencies and high turnover, which can decrease profitability.

Profit per employee vs. revenue per employee

Profit per employee differs from revenue per employee, in the following ways:

Profit per employee
Revenue per employee


Measures profitability per employee

Measures revenue generated per employee


Both revenue and expenses

Only considers revenue, not expenses

Key influences

Labor costs, operating expenses, sales volume, profit margins

Sales volume, pricing strategies, customer base


How efficiently a company generates profit from each employee

The average amount of revenue generated by each employee

HR implications

Provides insights into the impact of HR practices on profitability (e.g., training, talent management)

Can be used to evaluate sales effectiveness and identify areas for improvement

To summarize:

  • Profit per employee: Focuses on the net income (profit) a company generates after all expenses are deducted and divided by the total number of employees.
  • Revenue per employee: Emphasis on how much revenue each employee generates, but does not include expenses. A high revenue per employee doesn’t necessarily mean high profits for the organization.
Profit per employee formula: Net profit divided by number of employees.

How to calculate profit per employee

Determining your company’s profit per employee involves the following steps:

Step 1: Determine company profits

First, you need to determine the net profit of the company. Net profit is calculated by subtracting total expenses from total revenue. This can be found on the company’s income statement.

The formula for this is:

Net Profit = Total revenue − Total expenses

Step 2: Count the number of employees

Next, count the total number of employees in the company. This includes all full-time and part-time employees. If employee counts fluctuate throughout the year, you might want to use an average number for a more accurate reflection.

Step 3: Calculate profit per employee

Divide the company’s net profit by the total number of employees. Here’s a simple profit per employee formula:

Profit per employee = Net profit/number of employees

Calculation example

A medium-sized tech company with a net profit of $4 million and a total of 120 employees.

The company’s profit per employee ratio would be calculated as follows:

$4,000,000 (net profit) / 120 (number of employees) = $33,333

Additional tips

  • Periodicity: Ensure the period for profit and the employee count are match (e.g., annual profit vs. average annual number of employees).
  • Part-time employees: Consider how to count part-time employees; some calculations might weigh part-time employees as less than full-time equivalents (FTEs).
  • Interpretation: High or low profit per employee can indicate different things depending on the industry and business model, so it should be considered in context.

5 ways to improve profit per employee

By adopting the right strategies, HR can play an influential role in improving this metric. Here are five key ways:

  1. Optimize workforce processes: Assess workflows and key processes to reduce redundancies and improve overall efficiency. Determine what routine tasks can be automated to allow employees to focus on more engaging work.
  2. Invest in talent management: Having effective strategies to attract, engage, and retain highly skilled talent can greatly contribute to a company’s overall profitability. Some key HR practices, like upskilling and reskilling, and other learning and development opportunities can positively impact business outcomes.
  3. Align performance management with business objectives: Link employee performance goals to the organization’s overall objectives. Ensure employees understand how their performance contributes to the overall company profits, emphasizing the benefits for them and the future of the organization.
  4. Focus on employee engagement: Engaged employees are often more efficient and productive. Implement employee initiatives and policies that emphasize wellbeing and work-life balance (e.g., flexible working, mental health support, etc.) to create a positive work environment that keeps employees motivated.
  5. Empower employees with the right tools and technology: This includes software that automates routine tasks, collaboration tools that streamline communication, and analytics tools that provide insights for better decision-making.


What is a good profit per employee?

It’s difficult to provide a universal ‘good’ profit per employee, as the ratio will be relative by industry. You can compare your company with other companies in their industry to determine if their ratio is consistent with industry benchmarks. Typically, a profit per employee that exceeds the industry average is considered good, indicating higher efficiency and competitiveness.

How do you measure profit per employee?

To measure profit per employee, you divide the company’s net profit by the total number of employees. This calculation provides insight into the workforce’s efficiency in contributing to the company’s profitability. It’s also a useful metric for assessing operational efficiency and can be compared across different companies or industries to evaluate performance.

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