Following up on my look at relative headcount growth among competitive fiber operators, let’s take a quick look at two metrics one can derive from it along with the other data I have collected over the years for my competitive telecom trends section. First, here’s a plot of annualized revenue (in thousands of $) versus employee headcount at the end of each quarter, or in some cases year:
Annualized Revenue Per Employee
Of course, what this really measures is how focused each company is on wholesale and data-intensive enterprise customers, which generally features larger contracts and simpler products that it takes fewer people to service than do SME-type customers. Thus, we see Abovenet, Zayo, and Level 3 at a higher range than more smaller-enterprise-focused operators like tw telecom, Global Crossing, Cogent, Broadview, and XO – though of course each of those four has a wholesale segment as well. Level 3’s transition toward enterprise sales is reflected in the decline of this metric over the past few years, while Zayo and Abovenet have been simply scaling their revenues relative to fixed costs as they grow.
Now, here’s a companion chart of annualized EBITDA per employee, (also in thousands of $):
Annualized EBITDA Per Employee
This looks somewhat similar for the currently stronger margin performers of Zayo, AboveNet, tw telecom, and Cogent. XO and Global Crossing dropped down though, reflecting their perrenially low EBITDA margins, and Level 3 comes down a notch as its margins have not kept up (or perhaps caught up) with the more pure metro fiber approach.
The merger of Level 3 and Global Crossing is of course not included yet here as it happened after Q3 ended, but should spice things up come February.
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