Thursday, 19 October 2017

More data on the health of KM (revised)

Is KM dying, alive and well, or on life support? Let's bring some data into the debate (this post updated based on further data).


The debate about the health of KM is a perennial topic, with people variously claiming "KM is dead", "KM is alive and well" or "KM is on life support".  The item commonly missing in these claims is hard data; people instead going on their impressions, or on the bold claim of a replacement for KM that overthrows its older rival.

I have tried my best to bring some hard data into it, such as the apparent accelerating start-up rate of organisations, taken from the Knoco survey data (the counter-argument to which might be that more recent entrants to the KM game are more likely to have responded to the survey).

Here are some more data.

3 years ago I did a survey within LinkedIn, looking at the number of people in different countries with "Knowledge" in their job title (or or Conocimiento, or Connaissance, or Kennis, etc etc depending on language). From this I concluded that there are probably about 32,000 knowledge managers in the world, with the greatest concentration in Switzerland and the Netherlands, and the lowest concentration in Russia and Brazil.

This survey is easy to repeat, and to compare the number of people now with Knowledge or its equivalent in their job title, with the number of people then. The results for the top 10 countries in terms of search results are shown in the figure above and the table below.

total K people 2014 total K people 2017
USA
10483
12494
UK
3431
3989
India
3244
4228
Canada
1736
2000
Netherlands
1656
1988
Australia
1105
1388
Spain
820
788
France
803
1000
Brazil
733
988


In every case the number of people with a Knowledge job title has increased, but about 26%.

However the number of people from those countries on linkedin has also increased (thanks to Mahomed Nazir for pointing this out).

If we look at the number of people with Knowledge in their job title as a percentage of LinkedIn users, then things change, as the population of LinkedIn has grown a lot over the last few years.  The figures below represent the number of people from a particular country with Knowledge or its translation in their job title, per million LinkedIn unsers from that country.

K people per million LinkedIn users 2014total K people per million LinkedIn users 2017
USA
101
97
UK
214
181
India
130
101
Canada
174
157
Netherlands
325
331
Australia
184
174
Spain
128
143
France
97
107
Brazil
41
33
Here some countries have seen a fall in the percentage of people with a Knowledge job title, others have seen a rise. On average, numbers have fallen by 6%.

So in conclusion, over the last 3 years, the number of people with Knowledge etc as a job title on LinkedIn has increased by 26%, but this becomes a 6% decline in percentage terms if you allow for the overall population growth of LinkedIn.

 Is this the death of KM? Unlikely.

Could it be a slow decline? Possibly. 

I think we need to collect more data like this over a longer time period, and see if any trends continue.

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