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Apple’s Headcount, Up 30%, Still Industry’s Most Productive

October 30, 2011, 10:34 AM UTC

As of September, Apple (AAPL) had 60,400 full-time equivalent employees, according to the SEC Form 10-K it filed Wednesday, nearly 30% more than the 46,600 it reported in Q4 2010.

But those employees generate more profit per capita—by far—than any of Apple’s peers in the industry.Image (2) apple net income per employee

In the quarter that ended in September — not its best, mind you—the company generated sales of $28.3 billion and net income of $6.62 billion, or nearly $110,000 profit per employee.

That’s a useful metric because it gives you a yardstick by which to compare companies of very different sizes. Giant IBM (IBM), for example, with more than 425,000 employees, generated less than $9,000 profit per employee last quarter. Amazon’s (AMZN) 43,000 workers are even less efficient, bringing in only $1,458 apiece.

Apple came out on top in a similar survey that Pingdom ran last spring using annual rather than quarterly net income — thus generating numbers roughly four times larger. Below, their chart from May comparing 2011 to 2008, when Google (GOOG) was at the top of the heap.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported profit per employee in millions, rather than thousands of dollars. Rookie math error, but what’s a few orders of magnitude among friends?