People Ops - HR

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Explained: How to Calculate Your FTE

Elena Segura


Mar 27, 2024

What Does Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Mean?

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is a metric that translates the hours worked by part-time and full-time employees into the equivalent of full-time positions. This method provides a cohesive view of your team, streamlining the complexity of various working hours into a clear full-time framework. FTE is invaluable for those managing or organising full-time teams, enabling an accurate understanding of team contributions irrespective of individual working patterns.

Why Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is Important and Its Benefits

FTE is crucial for several key reasons:

  • Staff Alignment: It ensures that your team is perfectly aligned with operational needs, allowing for the efficient engagement of both full-time and part-time members.

  • Budgeting Accuracy: FTE lays a solid foundation for financial planning, ensuring that budget allocations for your team are precise and reflect the true cost of your workforce.

  • Operational Efficiency: Accurately assessing your team's size through FTE helps organisations meet their business objectives more effectively, avoiding the issues of understaffing or overstaffing.

How to Calculate the FTE

Calculating your FTE involves a straightforward process:

  1. Total the Hours Worked: Sum up the total hours worked by all your part-time and full-time employees over a set period, typically a week.

  2. Define Full-Time Hours: Determine what constitutes full-time hours in your organisation—37.5 hours a week is the standard for full-time in the UK.

  3. Divide to Determine FTE: Divide the total hours worked by the full-time hours to arrive at your FTE, showing the equivalent number of full-time workers.

FTE Calculation Example 1

If your team works a total of 750 hours in a week, with full-time defined as 37.5 hours a week, then:

  • Total hours worked: 750 hours

  • Full-time hours (weekly): 37.5 hours

  • FTE Calculation: 750 / 37.5 = 20 FTE

This means your workforce's effort for that week is equivalent to 20 full-time employees.

FTE Calculation Example 2

Let's consider another scenario with part-time employees:

  • Two Full-Time employees working 37.5 hours each (75 hours total)

  • Four part-time employees working 15 hours each (60 hours total)

To calculate the FTE for this setup:

  1. Total hours worked: 75 (full-time) + 60 (part-time) = 135 hours

  2. Full-time hours (weekly): 37.5 hours

  3. FTE Calculation: 135 / 37.5 = 3.6 FTE

In this example, the combined efforts of your full-time and part-time employees are equivalent to 3.6 full-time employees, demonstrating how FTE accounts for both full-time and part-time contributions.

FAQs on Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

Why is calculating FTE important?

It's key for efficient team management, accurate budget planning, and aligning staffing with operational needs, providing a clear metric for full-time and part-time staffing levels.

Can FTE be used for part-time employees?

Absolutely. FTE is designed to encompass part-time hours, converting them into full-time equivalents, making it a comprehensive staffing level measure.

How does FTE affect budgeting?

FTE significantly impacts budgeting by offering a precise measure of labour costs across full-time and part-time employees, facilitating better resource allocation and planning.

Is there a difference between 1.0 FTE and being full-time?

Yes, 1.0 FTE equates to the workload of one full-time employee, regardless of the number of individuals contributing to this, making it a measure of combined work hours against full-time standards.

Understanding and calculating FTE is vital for effective workforce management, helping to make informed decisions about full-time and part-time employment strategies and financial planning.

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