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Managers: are they taking over the world?

Figures show managers now make up more than a tenth of the workforce. Scary stuff...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 Sep 2013
It’s ‘Indescribable! Indestructible! Nothing can stop it!’ Yep – much in the manner of 1958 horror flick The Blob, a formless ooze is on the rampage across the nation’s businesses: analysis of figures by the Office for National Statistics shows the number of managers in the UK has grown by 7.8% over the past two years to 3.1m. That’s more than a tenth of the workforce. You can run but you can’t hide, etc etc…

By contrast, the analysis, by Jobs Economist director John Philpott, showed the number of people in skilled trades has dropped by 2.2%, also hitting 3.1m.

The number of people working in sales, customer service, process, plan and machinery and ‘elementary’ occupations (shop staff, mining labourers, domestic workers) have also dropped.

Paramedics were the fastest-growing occupation (although ‘ambulance staff excluding paramedics’ is the fastest-shrinking job). Numbers of psychologists, graphic designers, company secretaries and police community-support officers are also growing.

Pipe fitters, plasterers, hospital porters and typists are also among shrinking occupations – as are (party poppers at the ready) parking officers and debt collectors. So it’s not all bad news…

What’s interesting is that although the number of managers is growing at an alarming rate, some reckon we actually need more. Three years ago the UK Commission for Employment and Skills warned we’ll need 2.2m extra managers by 2017 compared with 2007.  

Will that be enough to stop the nightmares? We’re not convinced…

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