Weak labor market in pandemic? Microsoft's 2021 employment growth says otherwise.

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft added 23,500 employees between September 2020 and September 2021.
  • It's the largest employment growth the company has ever seen in one year, except for when Microsoft acquired Nokia.
  • Microsoft now has almost 190,000 employees, the majority of which are in the United States.

Microsoft brought in 23,500 employees over a one-year period ending in September 2021. That growth is the largest the company has ever had in one year, apart from when Microsoft acquired Nokia in 2014. Microsoft now has almost 190,000 employees worldwide, 57% of which are in the United States.

The figures came alongside Microsoft's quarterly earnings. GeekWire compiled historical data from Microsoft's public records over the past decade to provide context of the last year's employment growth.

Here are some highlights of the employment growth figures:

  • The majority of Microsoft's new employees are outside of the United States (about 14,000, which is around 60% of total employment).
  • 57% of Microsoft's employees are inside the United States, even after the large international growth.
  • Most new Microsoft employees in the United States are outside of the Seattle region, which is where the company is headquartered.
  • Microsoft doubled in size over the last ten years in terms of total employees (about 90,000 up to 189,984).

It's important to note that Microsoft's employment figures don't include contract workers or people from outside vendors. GeekWire notes that these types of employees historically total in the tens of thousands.

Microsoft's employee growth came during a global pandemic in which many companies had to reduce the number of employees.

The annual figures include Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax Media, which owns Bethesda. The numbers do not include the acquisition of AI giant Nuance.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.