How many knowledge managers are there in the world, and where are they?

5 years ago, in late 2014, I made an estimate of  the number of knowledge managers in the world. Here is an update – the number has increased to over 47,500, of which 28% are in the USA.

Number of knowledge managers per country
 Of course there is no list of global knowledge managers, and as a proxy I made a count of the number of people on LinkedIn with the word “Knowledge” (or Conocimiento, or Connaissance, or Kennis, etc etc) in their current job title, in a selection of the larger countries. They could be knowledge managers, chief knowledge officers, knowledge leaders, knowledge experts, knowledge engineers and so on.

Of course

  1. there may be some people in that list who have Knowledge in the title in another context (for example “Student with knowledge of French”),
  2. there may be knowledge managers not on linked-in, 
  3. some of the people may have been counted twice (with both Knowledge and Conocimento in their job title, perhaps)
  4. I did not search through every country (only the bigger ones where I know there is a history of KM), 
  5. nor did I search for every language equivalent of “Knowledge”. 
 Therefore the number of knowledge managers estimated by this method is approximate. However I counted 47577 people by this method. If your country, or language, is not on the lists below, then please feel free to do a count yourself, and let me know the answer.
This blog post goes on to discuss, in maps and lists, 
a) where these people are
b) the number as a percent of the national population

c) the number as a percent of the LinkedIn population
d) how the number has changed in the past 5 years

Where the knowledge managers are

Total number of knowledge managers per country. Jan 2020
This map shows the total number of people with Knowledge (or its equivalent) in their job title, on LinkedIn, in Jan 2020. The countries are listed below in order of “Knowledge Manager” population, with all the caveats mentioned above. 

Country total number of knowledge managers, 2020
USA 13430
India 5050
UK 4577
canada 2333
netherlands 2135
germany 1841
france 1807
spain 1615
Australia 1576
brazil 1218
south africa 895
colombia 877
belgium 864
italy 849
indonesia 843
china 699
phillipines 611
switzerland 596
mexico 548
israel 527
Argentina 477
poland 433
iran 375
malaysia 350
new Zealand 307
singapore 300
UAE 298
ireland 292
sweden 285
chile 277
saudi arabia 234
thailand 222
denmark 192
hong kong 191
austria 166
norway 164
russia 123

Number as a share of national population

Of course many of the countries at the top of this list are large countries. We need to look at the number of knowledge people as a proportion of the national population. This is shown in the picture and list below (the list shows the number of people on LinkedIn with Knowledge in their title, divided by the national population in millions).
Total number of knowledge managers per country as a proportion of national population. Jan 2020
The USA  is no longer top of the list – that honour goes to the Netherlands, just as it did in 2014, where 133 out of each million (one in 7500) has knowledge in their job title (subject to all the caveats above). The USA is now in 11th place.

Country K Managers per millions population
netherlands 133
belgium 86
switzerland 75
UK 74
new Zealand 71
israel 69
canada 69
Australia 69
ireland 66
singapore 60
USA 43
spain 35
denmark 35
norway 33
sweden 32
france 28
hong kong 27
germany 23
austria 21
colombia 19
south africa 18
chile 16
italy 14
malaysia 13
Argentina 12
poland 11
saudi arabia 9
phillipines 7
brazil 6
mexico 5
iran 5
India 4
indonesia 4
thailand 4
russia 1
china 1

Number as a proportion of the LinkedIn population

Of course the number of people counted from LinkedIn is unreliable, as the global use of LinkedIn is highly variable. Perhaps the lack of knowledge managers in China is because there is less use of LinkedIn in China, for example?

The map and list below account for this, and shows, for each country,  the number of people on Linked with Knowledge etc in their job title, per million people on LinkedIn. This may be a truer representation of the distribution of KM interest.

Total number of knowledge managers per country as a proportion of LinkedIn population. Jan 2020

Now we see Israel as top of the list, followed by the Netherlands again. China is still at the bottom. USA has fallen to 23rd place.

Country KM per million linked in population
israel 261
netherlands 249
belgium 195
switzerland 191
new Zealand 157
UK 148
Australia 133
canada 128
singapore 124
ireland 123
south africa 110
iran 109
austria 109
spain 107
hong kong 107
norway 105
poland 102
thailand 97
colombia 92
france 78
germany 74
malaysia 74
USA 72
sweden 72
phillipines 69
India 68
UAE 67
denmark 66
italy 51
Argentina 50
indonesia 44
chile 39
saudi arabia 38
mexico 36
brazil 25
russia 17
china 12

How the number has changed in 5 years

Percentage increase in the number of knowledge managers per country between Dec 2014 and Jan 2020
In every country other than Switzerland and Norway, the number of “Knowledge Managers” with all the caveats above, has increased. The countries are listed below in order of increase in “Knowledge Manager” population over the past 5 years. This gives us a proxy measure for areas where KM seems to be on the increase, vs countries where the topic is relatively mature.
Country increase in knowledge managers 2014 to 2020
indonesia 168%
germany 159%
poland 150%
phillipines 143%
iran 142%
chile 135%
saudi arabia 129%
france 125%
colombia 98%
spain 97%
thailand 95%
china 91%
UAE 86%
mexico 84%
belgium 71%
ireland 70%
italy 66%
brazil 66%
hong kong 66%
sweden 59%
India 56%
israel 51%
malaysia 50%
Australia 43%
singapore 39%
south africa 37%
canada 34%
UK 33%
austria 33%
netherlands 29%
new Zealand 28%
russia 28%
USA 28%
Argentina 27%
denmark 15%
norway -1%
switzerland -11%
Note that these increases are only partly due to an increase in the number of people using LinkedIn. LinkedIn usage is increasing rapidly (on average 120% in the last 5 years for the countries in this study), while the increase in KM numbers is at a lower rate (on average 70%). Possibly the Knowledge Managers were early adopters of LinkedIn, and are now becoming diluted as others join.


Bearing in mind the caveats above – 
  • There are in the order of 47500 knowledge management people in the world
  • The largest numbers are in the USA, then India, then the UK
  • In terms of percentage of Knowledge Managers in the national population, the Netherlands is the highest, then Belgium, then Switzerland. Russia and China are at the bottom.
  • In terms of the percentage of  Knowledge Managers in the linkedIn population, Israel is at the top of the list, then the Netherlands, then Belgium. Russia and China are still at the bottom.
  • The greatest percentage growth in numbers is in Indonesia, Germany, Poland and the Phillipines. Numbers have decreased in Switzerland and Norway. 

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