Microsoft surpasses 150,000 employees for 1st time as hiring surges outside Seattle-area HQ

Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

For the first time in its 44-year history, Microsoft’s employee count surpassed 150,000 people, the latest sign of the tech giant’s continued resurgence.

Microsoft listed its global headcount as 151,163 as of Dec. 31, the end of its most recent quarter. That’s an increase of 7,000 people, or close to 5 percent, from 144,106 six months ago, when the company’s new fiscal year began.

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Nearly 90,000 Microsoft employees, almost 60 percent of its total headcount, work in the U.S. And 53,973 people — 35 percent of Microsoft’s workforce — are based in the Seattle area, primarily at the company’s headquarters campus.

Microsoft surpassed the 150,000-person mark primarily through hiring outside of HQ. In the most recent quarter, Microsoft hired just shy of 2,700 people. New hires were split roughly 50-50 between domestic and international offices. But only 397 of those recent additions, about 14 percent of the growth, are based in Washington state.

The number does not include contract workers and contingent staff, people who work on Microsoft projects and assignments through third-party staffing firms.

Microsoft’s big tech rivals are updating their headcounts as they report their earnings:

  • Facebook finished the year with a global headcount of 44,942 people, a 26 percent jump over the previous year, according to its latest financial update released Wednesday.
  • Amazon’s headcount hit 798,000 at the end of the year, up 23 percent over the prior year, as the tech giant continues to staff up its shipping and logistics division to fulfill its promise to make one-day delivery its new Prime shipping standard.
  • Google parent Alphabet will release its latest update Feb. 3. The company finished the last quarter with 114,096 people worldwide, a nearly 21 percent annual increase.

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