Today, after much anticipation, Facebook filed the paperwork for its initial public stock offering, expected to result in a market valuation somewhere between $75 billion and $100 billion. And while those numbers raise eyebrows for being big, another Facebook figure does for being so small: 3000. That's the number of employees the company has, according to press information on its website ("3000+" to be exact).
This makes Facebook far and away the smallest employer of the five top names in tech (Google, Amazon, Apple*, and Microsoft are the other four). Google, the next smallest, has 10 times as many employees, with just over 32,000.
But as much as Facebook stands out among the other big tech companies, as a group they all have very few employees relative to their market value when compared with other big American corporations. Other companies -- even those in finance -- employ more people for their size than do the big tech firms.
In the chart below, you can see the value of a company divided by the number of employees (for Facebook we are using the low-end estimate of $75 billion):
Or, for another way of seeing it, here's a graph showing number of employees on the vertical axis and market valuation along the bottom. Except for IBM, the big tech companies are all lying flat on the seafloor, employing very few people (relatively speaking) regardless of their size. Other companies employ more people than the tech five. For Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and now Facebook, the picture is quite different.