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50% of working population now on LinkedIn

LinkedIn quietly passed a major milestone in the UK earlier this year[i], when its user base rose to over 50% of the working age population.

The business network has been growing rapidly in the UK, taking just 27 days to gain 1.2 million new users. (That’s over 30 new users signing up every minute!) This latest growth spurt pushed it past the 16.2 million mark – more than half of Britain’s working age population of 32 million.[ii]

LinkedIn has become the default social platform of the business and working world. It now spans over 200 countries and counts more than 300 million users globally. The UK is its fourth largest audience, just behind the US, India and Brazil.

There’s a lot we can learn by looking at LinkedIn’s UK user base.

For example, if we were to look for the top five industries in the UK, we find they are:

  1. Information technology
  2. Construction
  3. Financial services
  4. Hospitals and healthcare
  5. Retail

If we look at the top five UK industries based on directors and above (including partners, VPs, presidents, chairpersons, MDs, CEOs and other CXOs), they break out as:

  1. Construction
  2. Information technology
  3. Financial services
  4. Marketing and advertising
  5. Retail

Interesting, isn’t it, that construction is such a big industry on LinkedIn in the UK? Then again, it makes sense: construction is a highly networked yet disparate industry, and a social platform like LinkedIn enables people in the sector to foster relationships and keep in touch with one another more easily.

Looking at management levels and above, the top UK industries on LinkedIn are:

  1. Information technology
  2. Construction
  3. Financial services
  4. Retail
  5. Hospitals and healthcare

While people at all levels and from all industries can be found on LinkedIn, recruitment clearly isn’t one of the top five, however you sift the user base. This is telling.

Whilst LinkedIn’s commercial model is soundly based on recruitment, it is the commercial world which has adopted it, taken it on board (management and team!) and made it work. I have worked with companies that have added tens of millions to their bottom lines through LinkedIn. It’s a platform that allows companies to do “social selling” just by being themselves and doing the right things online.

If your business isn’t yet taking advantage of such possibilities, you need to ask yourself why.

[i] Based on LinkedIn statistics from 07/04/14.

[ii] Based on official statistics from ONS; see www.ons.gov.uk.