There are maybe 32,000 knowledge managers in the world. Give or take.
That figure is almost certainly wrong, but there are 32000 people on linked-in 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.There may be some people in that list who have Knowledge in the title in another context (for example "Student with knowledge of French"), there may be knowledge managers not on linked-in, some of the people may have been counted twice (with both Knowledge and Conocimento in their job title, perhaps), I did not search through every country (only the bigger ones where I know there is a history of KM), nor did I search for every language equivalent of "Knowledge". This number is therefore approximate, for many reasons!
However it gives us an order-of-magnitude estimate, and I think we could say that the true number is somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000.
Lets see where these people with "Knowledge" jobs are located. (and incidentally, if your country is not on this list, please feel free to do the search yourself, and send me the numbers. You need to use LinkedIn advanced search).
Knowledge managers per country
This graph shows the number of people on LinkedIn from each country with "Knowledge" or its equivalent in their current job title. The USA is top of the list, then the UK and India. The top 5 on this list match the top 5 countries which read my blog, and the top countries that visit the Knoco website. This list also closely matches the chart of KM Maturity shown in this blog post, with the USA, Western Europe and India as the most mature regions.
However the countries at the top of the list are all large countries, so maybe they have more knowledge managers just because they are bigger. Therefore the next chart allows for the population effect.
Knowledge managers per million population.
This graph shows the number of people on LinkedIn from each country with "Knowledge" or its equivalent in their current job title, divided by the population of the country in millions. So the 10000 knowledge managers in the USA, divided by a population of 300 million, gives about 30 knowledge managers per million.
Now the country order looks different.
Top of the list are the Netherlands and Switzerland. Singapore is now in the Top Ten. These are countries with a high population of knowledge managers - maybe because they have highly developed knowledge economies.
India has plunged from number 3 to number 33, China has fallen right to the bottom.
However there are countries on that list (China, Japan, Russia) which make very little use of LinkedIn. Whereas 33% of the US population is on LinkedIn (my "search of everyone" shows 101 million entries from the USA, even though I find that hard to believe), the figures for Japan and China are only 0.94% and 0.45% of the population respectively.
The figures in the charts above for countries such as Japan and China are therefore not representative, as many of the Knowledge Managers will not be on linked-in. The next chart allows for variable LinkedIn usage.
Knowledge managers per million linked-in users.
This final graph allows for the variable use of LinkedIn, and shows the number of people on LinkedIn from each country with "Knowledge" or its equivalent in their current job title, divided by the total number of people on LinkedIn from that country, measured in millions. So the 10000 knowledge managers in the USA, divided by the 100 million Americans on LinkedIn, gives about 100 knowledge managers per million linked-in members.
Again we see Switzerland and the Netherlands at the top of the list, reinforcing their place in the developed knowledge economies, and now accompanied by Israel and Belgium. Approximately 1 in 2000 LinkedIn people in Switzerland have Knowledge in their job title.
China has climbed away from the bottom place, which is now taken by Russia, where 1 in 50,000 LinkedIn people have Knowledge in their job title.
The USA, which led the way on terms of total number of knowledge jobs, is now in 27th place, with 1 in 10,000 LinkedIn people having Knowledge in their current job title.
Even these figures are unreliable, of course. We can assume that Knowledge Managers are more likely than others to use LinkedIn (as well as other social media) and thus the percentage of Knowledge Managers on LinkedIn may be higher than the percentage in the workplace as a whole.
ConclusionsThe number of knowledge managers in the world is a 5-figure number, and 32,000 may well be a reasonable estimate.
Potentially one third of these work in the USA.
The highest proportion of knowledge managers in the workforce (using LinkedIn as a guide) is in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Israel. The lowest seems to be in Russia.