I’m a member of LinkedIn, the professional networking site. You probably are too. If you live in the UK, you are one of 1.8m members. Around 30m people in the UK are of working age. So about 6% of us are LinkedIn members.
So, is it worth belonging to LinkedIn? And if you are, who are you likely to meet there?
I painstakingly took some numbers off Google Adplanner and I have three surprises that will make you rethink Linkedin membership.
When you’ve whizzed through the headlines, narrative and graphs, tell me what you make of this picture.
#1 College graduates in UK do not dominate Linkedin
That’s a surprise isn’t it?
Check the graph. Linkedin in the UK is dominated by people in the range of “some post-school education but less than a degree”.
Should we be surprised?
About 25% of people in UK have a degree. 33% of male Linkedin members in the UK finished University. Slightly fewer than 30% of female members of Linkedin in UK have degrees or graduate degrees.
So the facts go in the right direction. Graduates are more likely to join Linkedin than people with other levels of education, but, because three-quarters of the population have not been to university, even members who have no further education at all outnumber those with a first degree.
This is a salutary lesson for us all. Even on Linkedin, the real world dominates. And in the real world, most people do not go to University.
#2 People who earn 50K pounds a year (or more) dominate Linkedin
I will surprise you again.
In the next two graphs, we see that people whose household income exceeds 50K a year dominate LinkedIn.
OK, this is not so surprising in itself. After all, Linkedin is a high-end service. Google also reports household income. Average income in the UK is about 20K per person and if two people work, 50K is an average amount. So we shouldn’t be surprised to have Linkedin users from households who earn 50K a year.
(BTW, a 50K salary puts a person in the top 10% of the UK.)
But given that Linkedin is dominated by ordinary people – may be this figure is surprising?
When we look more closely at the graphs, we see that education makes it easier to earn household incomes of 50K+, but there are lots of people out there with ordinary education levels who also have household incomes of 50K+.
To spell this out:
- If you are a male Linkedin member, with a graduate degree, you probably earn 50K+.
- This is also true if you have a Bachelor’s degree – but about a third of ordinary degree-holders on Linkedin earn in the 30K to 50K range.
- If you are in the dominant group, “the post-school but no degree” crowd, you are more likely to be in the 30K-50K range but, there are as many people in this group earning 50K+ as there are degree holders earning 50K+ ! There are also more of this group earning 50K than graduates earning 50K+ – largely, I suppose, because there are fewer people with graduate degrees in the market. “The post-school but no degree” crowd rule, OK? Fonzi, still rules!
Burn this on to your brain. If you find someone with high household income on Linkedin, they could come from almost any education level.
We have two apparently conflicting facts.
- Education helps us earn money!
- But earning money telling us little about a person’s education! There are just as many high earners from lesser education levels (at least on Linkedin).
The pattern for women on LinkedIn is similar. But, it is confused by the over-powering dominance of women in the “more than high school but no degree group”. They rule even more than they do among men.
#3 The high earners in Linkedin are young and the younger members of Linkedin are high earners!
This is the really stunning surprise!
See at the next graph.
The 25-34 year old group have high incomes AND they outnumber older people with high household incomes!
Have a good look at that graph and burn it onto your memory –
Now to the interpretation.
It is not a surprise – though nor is it acceptable – that women earn less than men. We should also disentangle the more complicated picture at the the mid-age levels. But we all knew this already.
More importantly, where are the older high earners? Why don’t they join Linkedin? Are they that complacent, or are they outnumbered by young people in real world too?
I did check with the UK Government Statistics Office. And I spoke to a professional statistician. They don’t have numbers going from high salaries to age. They have a 1% sample of taxpayers and they present data from age to salaries in percentiles. Their reports suggest – as common sense suggests – that the workforce is dominated by people in the 40-49 range who also have higher salaries.
So what is happening here?
Because we haven’t any baseline data for the UK working population, we have to work with some sweeping generalizations – never a good idea.
It looks as if Linkedin is attracting younger people who are high earners.
Remember these things.
- 29% of men on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-34
- 35% of women on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-34
- 57% of men on Linkedin in UK who have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-44
- 68% of women on Linkedin in UK have household salaries of 50K+ are aged 25-44
Possibly, because women tend to partner men who earn more than them? Worth exploring, I think.
So what eureka moments did I have in this time-consuming micro-analysis of Google AdPlanner?
- The typical member of Linkedin in UK does not have a degree (700K out of 1,8M)
- The typical household income bracket of UK Linkedin members is 50K+ pounds. University education makes it more likely you will be in the high earning group but people who finished university are outnumbered by people who didn’t or didn’t go at all.
- The high earning bracket is dominated by 25-35 year olds!
How will I use this in practice?
- I am going to find out who are the young (25-34 and 35-44) women on LinkedIn with household incomes of 50k+.
- I know that less than half will have a degree but I can fine-tune this information AND find out what they do.
What will you do with it?