World’s Population Thrives as Global 500 Companies Employ 1% of Global Workforce

**Stark Divides Highlighted in Fortune’s 34th Global 500 List: Analysis and Insights**

**Geographic Divide in the Global 500**

The release of Fortune’s 34th Global 500 list, an annual ranking of the world’s largest companies by revenue, has brought to light some significant disparities. One striking divide is the geographic distribution of companies on the list. It is evident that a majority of the businesses in the top 500 are concentrated in the United States, Europe, and China. However, Asian countries outside of China and Japan have only a limited representation, and there are no African companies included in the rankings.

China dominates this year’s Global 500, with 135 companies on the list. Among them, State Grid, a Chinese power company, secures the third spot overall, followed closely by China National Petroleum, an oil firm, at number five. Japan also has a significant presence on the list with 41 companies, including renowned carmakers Toyota and Mitsubishi. Nevertheless, Japan’s representation has diminished by 72% since 1995 when it had 149 companies.

While other Asian countries combined make up less than 8% of the Global 500, a total of 39 companies from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand are included. On the other hand, there is a complete absence of African countries in this year’s rankings, reflecting the growing business sectors and opportunities in the continent.

**Employment Divide in the Global 500**

Looking at the employment figures, the Global 500 companies collectively employ a staggering 70.1 million people worldwide. Despite this, they constitute only 2% of the global workforce and a mere 1% of the world’s population. This highlights the fact that employees of Global 500 companies are part of an exclusive club, so to speak.

While these companies do provide a substantial number of jobs, when compared to the global workforce of 3.4 billion people, their contribution is relatively smaller. It is important to note that working for a Global 500 company does not necessarily guarantee high-paying jobs, as many of the top-ranked companies employ a large number of lower-paid retail, warehouse, and blue-collar workers.

**Movers and Shakers in the Global 500**

**Walmart’s Reign at the Top**
Walmart continues to dominate the Global 500 list, securing the top spot for the past ten years consecutively with a revenue of $611 billion. However, its position at the helm is now uncertain, as it faces stiff competition.

**Saudi Aramco’s Rapid Ascent**
Saudi Aramco, the oil titan, has made significant strides on this year’s ranking, jumping four places to secure the second spot. Its impressive revenue of over $603 billion puts it in close competition with Walmart. Notably, Saudi Aramco’s profitability has surged due to the impact of the Ukraine War on energy prices and its ability to extract oil cost-effectively from its extensive reserves. In fact, it became the most profitable company ever on the list, earning an impressive $159 billion last year.

**American Powerhouses**
The Global 500 list also highlights the dominance of American companies. Apart from Walmart, other top-ranked American firms include Amazon (No. 4), Exxon Mobil (No. 7), Apple (No. 8), and UnitedHealth Group (No. 10). These companies have consistently demonstrated their prowess in revenue generation and market influence.

**European Presence**
The list also showcases the strength of European companies in the business world. Notable European firms among the top rankings include Shell from the United Kingdom (No. 9), Volkswagen from Germany (No. 15), Uniper from Germany (No. 16), TotalEnergies from France (No. 20), and Glencore from Switzerland (No. 21). These companies contribute significantly to the European economy and exemplify the region’s industrial prowess.

**Noteworthy Movements**
Among the noteworthy movements in this year’s Global 500 list, California-based TD Synnex experienced the most significant rise in rank, climbing an impressive 236 places to secure the 215th spot. Conversely, Zurich Insurance Group from Switzerland, which has maintained a presence on the Global 500 for 29 years, experienced the most significant decline, dropping 179 places to the 358th position.

In conclusion, Fortune’s 34th Global 500 list sheds light on both geographic and employment divides among the world’s largest companies. The dominance of the United States, Europe, and China, along with the limited representation of other Asian countries and the complete absence of African companies, points to regional disparities. Additionally, while Global 500 companies provide substantial employment opportunities, they represent a small fraction of the global workforce. The list of top companies includes a diverse range of industries and serves as a testament to the ever-evolving global business landscape.

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