10 Company Leaders Who Sparked Hiring

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- CEOs often take the heat for hindering job growth.

With every downsizing, they are held accountable and suffer the ire of the unemployed. But what about those company leaders who have added consistently to the nation's employment base, even amid frustrating economic times?

The following are 10 company leaders with a record of bolstering their pool of employees.

These are not necessarily the biggest employers, nor those paying the most. Some of the CEOs and companies listed here benefit as much from industry trends, market cycles and seasonal spending as leadership moves. While some have championed creative ways to bring in employees, others have done so out of necessity and demand.

The people and companies listed here, at the very least, are among those who have done their part to add to the national payroll, not subtract from it:


Facebook
CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook is hardly the sort of conglomerate that will single-handedly fuel an economic recovery.

Nevertheless, its own hiring pace is brisk. With a new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., the former 57-acre home of Sun Microsystems ( Java), Facebook has announced plans to boost its workforce by 9,400 by 2017 -- from its current 2,000 employees, all but a couple of hundred based in the U.S.

Facebook's contribution to the workforce goes far beyond those on-site workers. With more than 750 million users globally, it has had a multiplier effect that has proved a catalyst for business.

A research paper released in September by economists at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland looked at what it called the "Facebook App Economy."

It points out that more than 2.5 million Web sites have integrated with Facebook, and people on Facebook install 20 million apps every day. These apps range from "games like Zynga's Farmville to music apps like Spotify to charity-oriented apps like Causes."

The Facebook ecosystem also includes components such as the "like" button, the comments plug-in and an activity feed that enable developers to integrate with it.

"Each of these components of the Facebook Platform creates jobs, and each of those jobs contributes value to the economy," the researchers wrote. "For example, the existence of the 'Like' button creates economic value by enabling people to share their experiences online with their friends. These friends provide increased referral traffic for companies' Web sites, which in turn creates value for those companies, which in turn results in hiring new employees and retaining existing ones, which in turn results in those employees making purchases and paying rent or making mortgage payments."

"Likewise, anyone can build an app on Facebook and begin earning revenue. If the app becomes popular, a developer may hire additional developers to add new features," they added. "If the app becomes even more successful, the founder may hire even more developers to build a second or third or fourth app. And if that single developer becomes a blossoming company, then it must hire financial managers, a legal team, a public relations team and clerical staff. Ultimately, many jobs are created, and the company contributes significant value to the economy."

Their conservative estimate of the employment impact of developers building apps on the Facebook Platform in the United States this year 182,744 full-time jobs, an economic impact of $12.2 billion.

"Using more aggressive estimates, the Facebook App Economy created 235,644 jobs, adding a value of $15.71 billion dollars to the U.S. economy," they added.


Starbucks
CEO Howard Schultz
Starbucks ( SBUX) isn't really on every street corner -- it just feels that way. The chain of coffee shops has 6,500 stores across the country and globe.

Beyond its own formidable footprint and ever-expanding team of baristas, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has positioned himself as a champion of job creation.

The bombastic executive has helped launch the Create Jobs for USA initiative. The partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network -- a national network of private Community Development Financial Institutions -- will facilitate loans to local, small businesses that might otherwise have a hard time securing the financing needed for expansion.

This week, as part of the initiative, Starbucks locations will be selling red, white and blue bracelets bearing the one-word message "Indivisible." With matching funds from other sources, the $5 cost of the bracelets will leverage $35 in lending, says Schultz, who has ponied up $5 million to get the program off to a start.

For every $3,000 in bracelets sold by Starbucks, the accompanying loans will help hire, on average, one person, organizers say.

"The more we stimulate demand and increase the purchasing power of middle class consumers, the faster we will recover," Schultz said, announcing the initiative. "We hope this is a galvanizing moment as Americans come together to be catalysts for change by giving community businesses access to the credit they need to hire, to grow and to contribute to creating thriving communities."

As for Starbucks itself, the company employs more than 170,000 people, about 116,000 of them in the U.S.


McDonald's
CEO James Skinner
McDonald's ( MCD), under the leadership of CEO James Skinner, is such an important employer in the U.S. that it can single-handedly affect the economy.

That's exactly what happened April 19, when a nationwide hiring spree was launched to add 50,000 employees to the fast food giant's payroll to help run the chain's more than 14,000 locations.

The available jobs ranged from part-time help to $50,000-a-year management positions. In total, McDonald's expected the hires would boost its payroll by $518 million.

Before the event, McDonald's had 650,000 employees, 13,000 of whom joined the company during a similar job hunt last year.

In total, McDonald's got about 938,000 job applications, which broke down to about 1/12th of the nation's unemployed workforce.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley ( MS) estimated that among the hires from the April event, those who went to work in May accounted for almost half of job creation that month.


Home Depot
Co-founder Bernie Marcus
In a CNBC interview last September, Home Depot ( HD) co-founder Bernie Marcus took umbrage with President Barack Obama, blaming his tax policies and regulatory environment for the lack of business growth. He sarcastically "apologized" for having created more than 320,000 jobs throughout his leadership of the company.

No real apologies need to come from current CEO Frank Blake. This week alone, his company announced 691 jobs would be available in Utah, added to a base of 321,000 employees.

Whereas retailers gear up for a Christmas season rush with temporary workers, Home Depot looks to springtime -- a time many pursue home improvements -- for expansion. This past spring, the company gave 60,000 employees seasonal jobs.


Wal-Mart
CEO Mike Duke
Wal-Mart ( WMT) isn't just a driving force for the U.S. economy, but a global source of jobs.

In the U.S., the downsizing and frugality sparked by the recession has led to an increase in its customer base.

While many have blamed the company as a job-killer for squeezing out small, local businesses and relying more on foreign imports than domestic-made products, the company can still take credit for increasing its payroll steadily (albeit at what critics deride as low wages and with sub-par benefits).

Since 2007, the year the Great Recession took hold, Wal-Mart has added approximately 40,000 jobs in the U.S. Its 9,700 retail units employ more than 2.1 million people worldwide and nearly 1.4 million in the U.S.


Amazon


CEO Jeff Bezos
Like Facebook, Amazon ( AMZN) -- led by CEO Jeff Bezos -- has been creating jobs on its own as well as fueling them at other companies.

Amazon has been increasing the size of its workforce steadily. At the beginning of its 2010 fiscal year it had just over 26,000 employees. With a current level of 43,200 full-time and part-time employees, its workforce has grown more than 60%.

Its subsidiary, the online shoe and fashion retailer Zappos.com, is also expanding. It has plans to add 5,000 employees, as well as boosting its staff by 2,000 temporary workers for the holiday season.

While Amazon certainly can't hog all the credit, its role in normalizing e-commerce has been a boon for shipping companies.

UPS ( UPS) and FedEx ( FDX) have been among the handful of companies expanding their workforce alongside the retailer.

UPS has approximately 400,600 employees (as of Dec. 31), of which 330,600 are in the U.S. (Some 2,800 are pilots.)

With the holiday shopping season upon us, FedEx projects an uptick in business. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it forecasts more than 260 million shipments to move through its global shipping networks -- a 12% increase for the holiday season over last year.

In a statement, CEO Fred Smith credited the fact that "e-commerce continues to grow and demand increases with more customers shopping and conducting their business online."

The company has announced that its 290,000-person workforce will be increased by 20,000 employees to meet holiday demands.


Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer
Over the years, Microsoft ( MSFT) was on a hiring spree that boosted its workforce to 95,000 employees.

More recently, however, the company has bled positions by the thousands. A low point for the company was 2009, when it announced nearly 6,000 layoffs.

The good news, if one is looking to trek to Washington State to ply a trade (although the company is now far more global than domestic), is that Microsoft, in part because of its success in the search engine space and the sales of its Window 7 operating system, is hiring again.

CEO Steve Ballmer may never be the go-to boss Bill Gates once was (and perhaps he barely deserves to make this list), but he has at least brought the company back up above the 90,000-employee level, adding 500 employees in the most recent quarter.


Google
CEO Larry Page
Google ( GOOG) is often cited as one of the nation's great places to work -- a distinction fueled by amenities ranging from in-house massages and gourmet meals to paid time off for pursuing personal projects.

It may never replace the vast numbers once employed by American steel companies and automakers, but it has upped the ante for tech companies.

The dominance of its online search and advertising services, combined with its successful foray into mobile technology, has empowered CEO Larry Page -- as well as predecessor Eric Schmidt -- to allow a steady hiring pace.

Just nine years ago, the company had a mere 500 employees. In 2007, it added more than 6,000 to its workforce; last year, 4,500 "Googlers" were brought in to fill needs in engineering and sales. As of Sept. 30, the company employs 31,353 full-time employees, up from 28,768 on June 30.


Intel
CEO Paul Otellini
Overcoming a scary lull in the PC market, chip maker Intel ( INTC) has been expanding its reach with technology needed for laptops, netbooks and all manner of mobile gadgets.

Earlier this year, CEO Paul Otellini announced that the company would create up to 4,000 jobs in the U.S., as well as invest in a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Arizona. Expansion in that state was also expected to create as many as 8,000 temporary construction jobs.

The company, with 100,000 employees, has slowed the pace of what has been steady hiring during the past several years. Nevertheless, it has postings for more than 1,000 unfilled jobs.


Macy's
CEO Terry Lundgren
It may be only temporary work, but Macy's ( M) is among the retailers boosting its seasonal workforce.

The company has announced plans to hire approximately 78,000 employees seasonal associates for its Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers nationwide. The hiring plan represents an increase of about 4% from last year.

"We expect additional hiring this year given the continued sales growth in our business -- both in-store and online," CEO Terry J. Lundgren said in a statement.

Macy's is not alone in boosting its workforce for the holidays.

On Sept. 27, Best Buy ( BBY) announced that it will add 15,000 blue-shirted associates. It has also added more than 3,000 employees to provide customer support and manage inventory for its stores and Web site. The seasonal hires are in addition to 200 permanent full-time employees just added to its IT team.

Also notable is of Toys R Us, which plans to hire more than 40,000 people for the shopping rush.

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joe Mont.

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