10 Biggest Employers in Australia
In the Article (Quick Access)
In continuation of our series of blogs on Australian businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, this blog is dedicated to the Biggest Australian Employers.
This blog is in follow up to our earlier Largest Employer Blogs from other parts of the world:
15 Largest Employers in Canada
We’ve compiled this list of the 10 biggest employers in Australia based entirely on their employee strength, regardless of their market value.
This list will provide you with an interesting comparison between companies when compared against both market value and the number of employees.
You may notice in the blog that there are a lot of companies with a greater market value that is being outshined by smaller companies in terms of the number of employee strength.
The blog will first enlist the company based on its strength of employees and in the end, we’ll give you a summary of its ranking based on the number of employees as well as their market value.
Let’s get started.
The Australian economy currently ranks as the 13th largest national economy by nominal GDP (source: World Bank).
The Australian economy is dominated by the service sector, which as per one estimate employs 78.8% of the labor force. (Source: Australian Govt Official Website).
You will see this fact reflected in the list below.
Specifically focusing on employment trends, one good news is that the unemployment rate in Australia has decreased by 0.1 points to 3.4%, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
As per the Australian government, health care and social assistance remained the top employment sector with 14.3% of total employment in the country.
On the contrary, electricity, gas, water and waste services were the lowest contributors with 1.1% employment. (Source: Australian govt website)
Now, without further ado, let’s look at the list of the 10 biggest employers in Australia.
FYI: We’ve exclusively used official company sources for the compilation of this list.
However, in some cases where official figures were not available, data were taken from other reputable sources like Forbes and the BBC.
Number of Employees: 190,000
(source: Woolworths official website)
Retail, Food & general merchandise
44.84 billion AUD
Bella Vista, New South Wales, Australia
Woolworths Group Overview
Currently ranked 12th in the ASX-200 index, Woolworth Group, a famous company based out of Sydney, tops the list of biggest employers in Australia by employing around 190,000 people.
The group owns a chain of retail stores across Australia and New Zealand and claims to be Australia’s biggest retailer.
Woolworths stores have a presence in every state and territory of Australia.
The group currently owns the following businesses in Australia:
- Woolworths Supermarkets
- Everyday Rewards
- Big W
In neighbouring New Zealand, Woolworths Group owns the following chains:
Although the biggest employer in Australia, the group has remained under the controversy of underpaying its employees since 2019, when it publicly admitted to the accusations. (Source: The Guardian)
Nonetheless, the group has featured in the top 2nd position in Linkedin’s ranking of 25 companies investing in their talents and helping people in their long-term career success. (source: LinkedIn)
Number of Employees: 120,000
(source: Coles Group LinkedIn Page)
Consumer staple, Retail
23.56 billion AUD
Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia
Coles Group Overview
Coles Group Limited, a Famous Melbourne-based Company, currently ranks 17th in the ASX-200 index but shines in the list of biggest employers in Australia at the 2nd position.
Its flagship stores chain is Coles Supermarkets, and the group also deals in liquor sales through its Coles Liquor and Coles Express outlets.
Coles is the second largest chain of supermarkets in Australia after Woolworths.
Coles Group’s official site claims a growing commitment toward diversity and inclusion initiatives set as goals to be achieved by December 2023.
It acknowledges the uniqueness of individuals and claims to create a sense of belonging in its community.
The company has a rating score ranging from 3.2 to 3.5 out of a total of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on different jobs finding sites on the web. (Sources: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Number of employees: 107,000
(source: Wesfarmers Official Annual Report – 2020)
Consumer staple, Retail
23.56 billion AUD
Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia
Wesfarmers Limited Overview
Wesfarmers Limited was established in 1914 as a co-operative for providing services to Australian farmers.
Later, it turned into a giant conglomerate of 60+ companies.
In 1984, Wesfarmers was registered as a public company. Fast forward today and it presently ranks at number 9 in the ASX-200 index.
Wesfarmers now owns various business divisions including
- Kmart departmental store
- Target store
- Wesfarmers Chemical, Energy & Fertilisers (WesCEF)
- Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety
- Australian Pharmaceutical Industries
The company has a rating score of 3.6 out of a total of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various jobs finding sites online. (Sources: SEEK, Indeed Australia).
Ramsay Health Care Limited
Number of employees: 86,000
(source: Ramsay Health Care Official Website)
16.24 billion AUD
Ramsay Health Care Limited Overview
Ramsay Health Care Limited is Australia’s largest healthcare provider with around 100 facilities working countrywide. Limited was established in 1914 as a co-operative for providing services to Australian farmers.
The company operates in Australia, Europe, the UK, as well as in Asia.
Some of the divisions owned by Ramsay are
- Ramsay Health Care UK
- Ramsay Sante, France
- Ramsay Sime Darby Health Care
- Ramsay Pharmacy
Ramsay Health Care has a rating score ranging from 2.9 to 3.3 out of a total of 5 on different jobs multinationals find sites, with 85% of the company’s reviewers saying that its salaries are high or average. (Sources: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
BHP Group Limited
Number of employees: 80,000
(source: BHP Official Website)
Metals and Mining
186.65 billion AUD
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
BHP Group Limited Overview
BHP Group Limited is one of the Top Mining Companies in Australia and the world.
It features on the ASX-200 index with a whopping market cap of 192.05 billion AUD.
The company is multinational mining, metals, and natural gas petroleum company, and in 2017, it became the world’s largest mining company by market capitalization.
The company deals in copper for renewable energy; Nickel for electric vehicles; Iron ore, and Metallurgical coal for global infrastructure and energy transition.
In a 2021 survey, it was found that two-thirds of the company’s female employees had experienced verbal sexual harassment.
In response, BHP terminated or permanently removed forty-eight workers from its sites. (source: WAtoday)
BHP has a rating score of 3.6 to 4.1 out of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various job-finding sites.
Moreover, 93% of the reviews rate the company’s salaries as high or average. (Sources: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Number of employees: 57,600
(source: Worley Official Website)
Resources and Energy
7.28 billion AUD
North Sydney, NSW, Australia
WorleyParsons Limited, or more commonly Worley is an American-Australian engineering company that provides consulting and project management services in the energy sector.
Worley has a worldwide pool of engineers, scientists, data scientists, and construction workers to provide solutions in complex energy, chemical, and resources sectors.
Despite its relatively lower ranking on the ASX-200 (75th, source: Market Index), the company still employs a major chunk of workers and ranks at number 6 in our compiled list.
Worley has a rating score of 3.2 to 3.9 out of a total of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various job-finding sites. A vast majority of reviews (88%) rate their salaries as high or average. (Sources: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Number of employees: 50,000
(source: CIMIC Official Website)
Construction, Civil engineering
6.85 billion AUD
North Sydney, NSW, Australia
CIMIC Group Overview
The company name stands for Construction, Infrastructure, Mining, and Concessions.
Formerly known as Leighton Holdings, CIMIC is a construction contractor that works in various industries including
- Engineering and infrastructure
- Construction and property
- Mining and resources
- Environmental services
CIMIC has a rather impressive score of 4.3 out of a total score of 5. 100% of reviews rated the company’s salaries as high or average. But the score is based on a very limited number of reviews and hence may not be entirely reliable. (Source: SEEK)
Number of employees: 48,900
(source: Commonwealth Bank Official Website)
Banking and financial services
159.92 billion AUD
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Commonwealth Bank Overview
Established in 1911, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia was initially a govt entity but was later privatized in 1996 and is one of the four largest banks in Australia, otherwise known as the “big four”.
It is currently the 2nd largest listed company on the ASX-200 index.
The bank provides a variety of financial services including funds management, retail, business, and institutional banking, and brokering services, among others.
Commonwealth Bank has ratings in the range of 3.5 to 4 out of a total score of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various job-finding sites. A huge percentage (88%) of employee reviews suggest that company salaries are high or average. (Source: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Rio Tinto Group
Number of employees: 45,000
(source: The Guardian)
Metals and mining
33.19 billion AUD
Rio Tinto Group Overview
Rio Tinto is the world’s 2nd largest mining company after BHP. It is an Anglo-Australian multinational company with its headquarters located both in London, England as well as in Melbourne, Australia.
Being an Anglo-Australian company, it is also listed on both London Stock Exchange as well as Australian Securities Exchange.
The company currently ranks 15 in the ASX-200 index but is among the top 10 biggest employers in Australia.
Other than the extraction of minerals, the company also deals in refining Bauxite and Iron ore.
The group has been in the negative press recently when a global survey of its employees revealed that events of bullying, sexual harassment, and racism are commonplace in its work culture. (Source: The Guardian)
Nonetheless, the company has ratings of 3.5 to 3.9 out of a total score of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various job-finding sites. Among the reviewers, 89% rate the company’s salaries as high or average. (Source: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Number of employees: 44,000
(source: Downer Group Official Website)
Integrated services industry
3.37 billion AUD
Downer Group Overview
Downer Group is an integrated services company that designs, builds, and sustains assets, infrastructure, and facilities across Australia and New Zealand.
It is a 150-year-old enterprise that currently ranks 123rd in the ASX-200 index.
But despite being quite low in its market cap as compared to some of the top listed companies in ASX-200, the group still is among the top 10 biggest employers in Australia employing a huge workforce of more than 44,000 people.
Downer Group has a rating of 3.5 to 3.9 out of a total score of 5 based on its employees’ reviews on various job-finding sites. Among reviewers, 88% rate the company’s salaries as high or average. (Source: SEEK, Indeed Australia)
Summary of the top 10 employers in Australia
Here is a summary of the top 10 employers in Australia.
As mentioned at the start, you can compare their size against their market cap and draw your own conclusions about their employment strategies.
Source : Disfold Blog
Ranking as per Number of Employees
Number of Employees
Position at ASX-200 Index
Ramsay Health Care
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