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Difference between FTE and Headcount

Difference between FTE and Headcount

In order to understand the difference between FTE and headcount, it is important to first understand what each term means. FTE stands for full-time equivalents, while headcount refers to the total number of employees on the payroll. FTE takes into account part-time workers, while headcount does not. As a result, FTE is a more accurate measure of employee staffing levels. Headcount can be misleading due to the inclusion of part-time workers, which can distort an organization’s true staffing needs. By understanding the difference between FTE and headcount, organizations can make more informed decisions about their staffing levels.

What is FTE?

FTE stands for “full-time equivalent.” It is a way of quantifying the amount of work being done by a group of employees and is typically used to measure productivity.

  • To calculate FTE, you first need to determine the total number of hours worked by all employees in a given period. This can be done by adding up the number of hours worked by each employee over the course of a week, month, or year. Once you have the total number of hours worked, you can then divide it by the number of full-time employees.
  • This will give you the FTE for that period. For example, if a company has 10 employees who work 40 hours per week, the FTE would be 10 (the number of employees) divided by 40 (the number of hours worked), which equals 0.25.
  • This means that the company has the equivalent of 0.25 full-time employees working during that period. FTE is often used to compare the productivity of different groups or departments within a company, as well as to track productivity over time.

It is also a useful tool for budgeting and forecasting, as it can help to estimate the amount of work that will need to be done in order to meet specific targets.

What is Headcount?

Headcount is a method of counting the number of people employed by a company or organization. Headcount can be used to tally the total number of employees or to track employee turnover. Headcount can also be used to calculate employee productivity or to compare the size of a company’s workforce to that of its competitors. Headcount is an important metric for companies and organizations of all sizes.

Difference between FTE and Headcount

  • FTE (full-time equivalent) and headcount are two measures of staff size in organizations. FTE is a measure of the total number of full-time employees equivalent to the hours worked by part-time employees. Headcount is a simple count of the number of employees, regardless of their FTE.
  • FTE is often used when measuring the productivity of an organization or department, as it takes into account both full- and part-time employees. Headcount is generally used when discussing the overall size of an organization or department.
  • Organizations usually have more headcount than FTE, as there are typically more part-time employees than full-time employees. For example, an organization with 100 headcounts and 80 FTE would have 20 part-time employees working half-time (0.5 FTE).


In order to accurately budget for your staff, it is important to understand the difference between FTE and headcount. Headcount reflects the total number of employees on your payroll, while FTE measures how many hours are worked in a given period. By understanding this distinction, you can budget for the appropriate number of employees needed to achieve your business goals.

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