In the knowledge-based economy, long-term corporate performance and its compettve advantage are strongly associated with human capital. Theoretcal deliberatons suggest that companies with greater human capital orientaton (higher salaries and benefts, more training, a transformatonal leadership style, beter equipment) might perform beter than their peers with less human capital orientated strategy due to: higher skills of employees, greater motvaton and thus higher overall corporate eﬀectveness. On the other hand, orientaton towards human capital generates higher costs which may negatvely aﬀect proftability and stock market valuaton. There are two aims of this paper. The frst one is to state whether human capital orientated frms generate positve fnancial performance. The second aim is to compare fnancial performance of human capital orientated frms with the benchmarking sample to state if the fnancial performance is above-average. Research was conducted on a sample of 7,204 unique publicly listed companies from the American stock market within a ten year period (72,040 frm-year observatons). Empirical studies were carried out with the help of one hypothesis. Two groups of companies were created and their results on fnancial performance were compared. The frst group consisted of human capital orientated frms that were identfed with the help of the well-known 100 Best Companies to Work For listng, in line with the Edmans (2009) approach. The second group composed of US-based publicly listed enttes from 11 industries. Analysis was conducted for the 2007-2017 years. The key fndings of the paper are: strategy based on human capital orientaton provides high proftability and leads to above-average fnancial performance, mainly in the feld of equity growth and stock market valuaton. The paper has signifcant practcal implicatons for investors in terms of possible directons of stock market investments aimed at achieving above-average returns as well as for corporate management by indicatng that human capital orientaton pays oﬀ. The paper flls the research gap between two points. First, it states in which fnancial performance pillars human capital orientated frms perform best. Second, it compares the results of the human capital orientated strategy with the enttes from the 11 diﬀerent industries. Research refers to the American publicly listed enterprises.
Keywords: knowledge-based economy, human capital, fnancial performance, multnatonalites.