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. 

View Original Source ( Here.

Where are the non-US/UK/Aus thought leaders in KM?

Lists of KM thought leaders historically tend to be USA-dominated. Who have we missed from the rest of the world?

I published a blog post 5 years ago entitled “KM thought leaders – are they REALLY all from the USA“? In this post I looked at Stan Garfield’s list of KM thought leaders, and assessed their provenance and location, which at the time was predominantly USA and Canada (72% in total).

In the past 5 years, Stan’s list has evolved and grown, and the proportion of thought leaders from Asia, MENA, Australasia and Continental Europe has significantly increased.

However the USA/Canada proportion is still very high (62% compared to the 72% of 5 years ago).

What do you think? Is this representative? Does nearly two thirds of KM leadership come from North America?

Which non-US KM thought leaders do you think are missing from Stan’s List?

View Original Source ( Here.

Knowledge Management career paths

I posted on this blog 5 years ago on the topic of KM career paths, and suggested the following model for career progression within KM, at least within a larger organisation.

Image from wikimedia commons

  1. Knowledge facilitator or Knowledge engineer. Doing the basic jobs of KM, facilitating meetings, conducting interviews, facilitating a Community of Practice , Knowledge Management lead on one project, and so on. 
  2. Knowledge Manager. Managing and maintaining the KM Framework for a department or business unit, or acting as leader for a major community of practice. Single point of contact for KM for that topic or that part of the organisation. Making sure the KM work gets done. Managing or supporting the Knowledge facilitators and knowledge engineers. Acting as local champion for KM. Monitoring and reporting the degree of use of KM, and the value delivered to the business. 
  3. Knowledge Strategist. Setting the strategic direction for KM within a business unit, business stream or organisational group. Improving and developing the use of KM in support of the business, and the application of KM in the business. Working with the business to optimise KM support to the business. 
  4. Head of Knowledge Management. Setting the strategic direction for KM within the organisation. Designing any new developments of the KM Framework. Driving the corporate KM culture. Working with the executive level to optimise the way in which Knowledge Management supports the organisation.
Since then I have found a few more KM career path examples, as follows:

  • McKinsey: senior researcher >= lead researcher, or senior researcher => specialist, or senior researcher knowledge operations
  • Bain & Co: Individual contributor (associate/analyst) => Specialist (seasoned professional) => Team leader (experienced professional)
  • World Bank (according to KM Edu hub): Knowledge Management Assistant => Knowledge Management Analyst => Knowledge Management Officer => Senior Knowledge Management Office
  • US Air Force Apprentice (3) Level => Journeyman (5) Level => Craftsman (7) Level => Superintendent (9) Level. (These are levels of development rather than different roles
Please let me know if you have other examples

View Original Source ( Here.

How much can a knowledge manager earn?

Here is another review of Knowledge Management salaries from various salary-comparison sites

See similar posts from 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012

From Glassdoor we see an average salary of £46k (US$60k) and a range from £30k to £69k (US$39k to 90k)

From IT jobs watch we get a bunch of useful stuff, though it refers only to IT jobs labelled as KM. We can see a salary range of £27k to £91k with a median of £55k (US$35k to 118k and a median of US$71k)

We also see these useful plots showing the median KM salary over time (which does not seem to have changed much in 13 years) and the percentage of KM job postings, which is down from a peak in 2014 but steady over the last 3 years.

From payscale in Canada we get a Knowledge Manager salary range from C$ 47k to C$73k with a median of $55k (US$35 – 55 with a median of US$42)  and a “director of KM” salary of C$142K  (US$107k). These seem quite low figures.

From linkedin we see this histogram of salaries for KM specialists in the USA – a huge range from US$41k to US$ 106k and a median of US$ 65k

From KM Attorneys  we see that the median salary for a KM lawyer in New York is $106k

From lawcrossing,com we see a similar figure of $118, although the jobs advertised seem to be more general lawyer jobs than specific KM jobs.

The conclusion, as ever, is that there is a huge range in salary from about $35,000 at the low end to over $100k at the top end, because there is such a huge range of tasks to be done in KM. Its hard to draw any trends either, given this range. 

View Original Source ( Here.

What Google Trends really tells us about KM popularity

Again yesterday I was corresponding with someone who used Google Trends as an argument that KM was dying.

Taken at face value this view is understandable. The google trends plot for KM decreases over time as shown below, showing a steady reduction in relative searches for the term “knowledge management” over the past 8 years.  At first sight this could suggest that the popularity of KM is on the wane, and that fewer and fewer people are searching for the term. However if you dig a little deeper this plot is misleading, and the conclusion that interest in KM is dying is actually a fallacy.

Let me explain why.

Google trends is not an absolute indicator of the popularity of a topic.

That is because Google trends measures “how often a term is searched for relative to the total number of searches, globally”, and the total number of searches, everywhere in the world, has rocketed (screengrab from this site below).

Any decrease in the relative percentage, as in the first graph, has to be normalised against the increase in the total number of searches in the second graph.  If the top graph is a measure of the percentage and the bottom graph is the total, then all we need to do is multiply them together to get a measure of the total number of KM searches, and then we will be able to say something meaningful.

That is exactly what I have done in the plot below. The numbers are inexact, as I have just read points visually from the first plot (see table at the base of the post for figures) but the conclusion is obvious.

Google trends is a meaningless indicator unless normalised against the total number of searches. If you do this, then far from KM being in a decline …

… the total number of Google searches for Knowledge Management has actually increased steadily from 2004 to 2012.  

Raw data for the 3rd graph
year total searches (billion) Googletrends measure of KM share measure of total number of searches for KM
2004 86 100 8600
2005 141 70 9870
2006 230 50 11500
2007 372 40 14880
2008 584 30 17520
2009 792 25 19800
2010 998 21 20958
2011 1109 20 22180
2012 1216 19 23104

View Original Source ( Here.

The state of the UK KNowledge Management job market

Courtesy of IT Jobswatch, UK, here is a summary of the state of UK IT-related KM job market

Basically, the job market is much the same or slightly better than last year, and a bit worse than it was 2 years ago. Median UK salaries seem pretty constant.  These figures were copied in December

Knowledge Management

6 months to
12 Dec 2017
Same period 2016 Same period 2015
Rank 796 865 755
Rank change year-on-year +69 -110 +54
Permanent jobs citing Knowledge Management 398 371 590
As % of all permanent IT jobs advertised in the UK 0.22% 0.20% 0.28%
As % of the Processes & Methodologiescategory 0.25% 0.22% 0.31%
Number of salaries quoted 228 253 459
UK median annual salary £49,500 £45,000 £50,000
Median salary % change year-on-year +10.00% -10.00% -16.67%
10th Percentile £26,000 £26,400 £26,650
90th Percentile £87,375 £82,500 £81,250
UK excluding London median annual salary £35,500 £37,500 £47,500
% change year-on-year -5.33% -21.05% -13.64%

When you delve into the details a bit, it seems as if they are counting every job where “knowledge management” is mentioned in the job description. Therefore these are not all KM jobs, but have some relation to KM (for example analysts, part of whose role is to input content into a Knowledge management system).

The same figures are shown below for Knowledge Manager jobs, sampled last week.

Knowledge Manager

6 months to
3 Jan 2018
Same period 2017 Same period 2016
Rank 1163 1183 1269
Rank change year-on-year +20 +86 +37
Permanent jobs requiring a Knowledge Manager 11 6 17
As % of all permanent IT jobs advertised in the UK 0.006% 0.003% 0.008%
As % of the Job Titles category 0.007% 0.003% 0.008%
Number of salaries quoted 4 2 10
UK median annual salary £65,000 £36,781 £55,500
Median salary % change year-on-year +76.72% -33.73% +70.77%
10th Percentile £39,450 £33,128 £37,125
90th Percentile £68,500 £39,459 £71,250
UK excluding London median annual salary £47,000 £37,500
Again there is little significant change over the past 2 years, although the sample size is small. These “Knowledge Manger” jobs are all proper KM jobs.

View Original Source ( Here.

8 KM jobs in word-cloud format

Knowledge Management is such a fuzzy term that looking for a KM job is a minefield. One way to see what these jobs actually entail is to use a word cloud as a simple text analysis tool, and see which words leap out.

Here are 8 recent jobs posted on LinkedIn – all from the USA – where I have taken the role description section and cut and pasted the text into a word cloud generator. Lets see which words (apart from Knowledge, Management, and KM) stand out.
Job number 1 – above – strip out the “Knowledge” word (which mostly relates to the job title) and you can see that this is really a Content Management role
Job number 2 – above –  is a data management job
Job number 3 – above –  really doesnt have any stand-out give-away words. It probably is a bona fide well-rounded KM role, with aspects of collaboration, aspects of sharing, and aspects of content.
Job number 4 – above –  looks like a job for a project document manager
Job number 5 – above –  again doesn’t have any stand-out giveaways if we ignore “knowledge” and “management”. Its probably a good KM role, focused on self-service articles.
Job number 6 – above –  is a document management role
Job number 7 – above –  the biggest word (other than KM) is SharePoint, so we know what this is about!
Job number 8 – above –  again seems like a well rounded role, with no single issue taking precedence.
The word clouds are a quick way to see the main focus of the jobs, and we can see that a lot of KM jobs are focused on content management, data management, document management and records management. However there are some more varied and more comprehensive KM jobs in there as well.

View Original Source Here.