Knowledge Worker Market Size

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Knowledge Worker Market Size

Key Takeaways

  • There are just over 100 million knowledge workers in the US, as well as over 1 billion knowledge workers worldwide.
  • The sectors currently hiring the most knowledge workers were as follows; consumer (35%), technology (25%), healthcare (11%), industrial (10%), finance (10%), and media/entertainment/telecom (5%).
  • Approximately one in three knowledge workers are in tech-related roles, which include data science, product management, engineering, and design.

Introduction

In researching the US market size for knowledge workers, we found that the amount of employees categorized as knowledge workers in the US is increasing rapidly as routine and manual tasks are replaced by those that require communication skills and expert thinking. The total US market size is estimated to be approximately 100 million employees. While there was somewhat limited data on the size of the specific market segments requested, we were able to find information on knowledge workers by industry, as well as related relevant information related to those market segments which can be found below.

Total US Market Size

  • A survey by Gartner found that there are just over 100 million knowledge workers in the US, as well as over 1 billion knowledge workers worldwide.
  • This survey also found that by the end of 2021, 51% of these knowledge workers will be working remotely.

Sector & Industry Breakdowns

While there was somewhat limited data on exact breakdown of knowledge workers by industry in the US, we were able to find the following related data points.
  • Approximately one in three knowledge workers are in tech-related roles, which include data science, product management, engineering, and design.
  • The sectors currently hiring the most knowledge workers were as follows; consumer (35%), technology (25%), healthcare (11%), industrial (10%), finance (10%), and media/entertainment/telecom (5%).
  • The consumer sector included retail, CPG, auto and travel.
  • The finance sector included banking, financial services, and insurance.
  • US companies hiring the most knowledge workers (Target, The Home Depot, Advanced Auto Parts, Marriot, Intuit, Tractor Supply, Wells Fargo, CVS, Ulta, and Kroger) also reflected these industry trends.
  • While there are an estimated 2.1 million government employees defined as 'on board' that could by definition fall into local or municipality employment, there was not publicly available data on breakdown by role or what percentage of these are knowledge workers.
  • Similarly, while there is a national estimate of logistics managers including transportation, storage, and distribution logistics of 132,210, there was not publicly available data on how many of those managers would be considered knowledge workers.
  • However, it is noted that knowledge work in the logistics space is emergent and increasing.
  • There was also limited data into knowledge work in the nonprofit space with it only noted that knowledge management will be increasingly useful in the space as more data is used, suggesting a potential parallel increase in demand for knowledge workers.
  • In addition to the 35% of knowledge workers being in the consumer space, retail management likely has an increase in knowledge workers due to technology driving change in the retail space.
  • In fact, one source noted that eventually "most retail workers will be expected to be knowledge workers" in order to utilize data to intelligently provide retail experiences in technology enabled smart stores.
  • There was no public data available on knowledge workers in management of distribution companies or in community centers.
  • While there wasn't a statistic available on the amount of employees within consulting firms, it is noted that consultants as a whole are considered knowledge workers, and that the consulting space is projected to grow 4.3% annually, with 734,000 management consultants in 2020.
  • Governmental organizations are also projected to become increasingly cloud based, which suggests a potential growth in knowledge work as services move increasingly online.

Research Strategy

For this research on the US knowledge worker market, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including business media, government reports, and reputable primary research reports from consulting firms such as Gartner. Searching through a range of reputable public sources, we discovered there was somewhat limited data on the specific market segments requested, and substituted information on knowledge workers by industry as well as related relevant information that could be used to garner insights into those segments.

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