5 findings from 100 KM Jobs in 10 Months

5 findings from 100 KM Jobs in 10 Months (June, 2016 edition)

This is a follow-up to the July 2015 edition of this research, where over the last 10 months I have been tracking Knowledge Management jobs to see if the field is shifting or remaining stagnant.


I again looked at 100 Knowledge Management jobs that have been advertised on job sites in the UK, Australia, United States, Canada, India, Singapore and Republic or Ireland over a ten month period.

The headlines suggest that, once again, the KM world is exactly where it always has been:

  1. 88 of 100 jobs (88%) were IT based or IT-centric, requiring specific IT experience (e.g. Sharepoint) and skills as a pre-requisite (note: this relates to IT as a focus of the role and not the ability to use, for example, Microsoft Office suite). [+4% on last year]
  2. Only 3 of 100 (3%) required a specific Knowledge Management qualification and even here the qualification could be substituted for experience – the vast majority required an undergraduate degree/work experience (work experience/qualifications generally being either professional (having worked in a specific field (e.g. law) or IT-based). [-3% on last year]
  3. Zero of 100 (0%) required experience of formulating HR practice to improve knowledge acquisition, sharing, use and creation. [-1% on last year]
  4. 89 of 100 (89%) specifically mentioned “content creation” or similar terminology. [-2% on last year]
  5. Only 6 of 100 (6%) specifically mentioned partnership approaches (e.g. learning/training and development or Human Resources). [-8% on last year]
  • Knowledge Management still doesn’t appear to be moving away from its information-based roots.
  • KM practice is still driven by content and “hard” knowledge as a primary objective.
  • Knowledge Management seems to remain the domain of specialists who operate in silos. The problem is that these “specialists” appear to be focused on information and not knowledge.
  • Finally, the requirement for KM generalists (integrated KM) is still very much the exception and certainly not the rule.

The bottom line?

  • KM still largely remains the domain of information “specialists”, when organisations really need “integrators” or “generalists.” 
  • The field is not changing, which is significant, given the changes to the way in which organisations are being asked to report on value creation (see www.theiirc.org)

5 thoughts on “5 findings from 100 KM Jobs in 10 Months

  1. David,
    You may be over simplifying the research. You are assuming that building knowledge and innovation from a tacit perspective all lies within the realm of KM. It doesn’t. You need to be analyzing organizational development, organizational change & effectiveness, leadership development, training & development, HR business partners, and business process improvement jobs. All of these areas and job postings could as easily be what you are describing as “KM” jobs. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. With all that said I agree with the analysis that says that the use of the words KM have been and will probably continue to be associated with information management jobs. it is what it is. Large corporations that are looking at the future, quarter by quarter will never invest in the long term. You probably could provide examples where I’m wrong, but give them 2 years and the entire program will get blown up by new management.

    1. Hi KM Coaching,

      Hmmm. Not sure if you have read any of my other work, but no such assumption is made. In fact, I argue vociferously for integration of the function to develop impact (time, safety, innovation, quality and cost). This appears to be what you are speaking of, especially as many of the “roles” you describe are integrated across functions (e.g. OD). I set this out, for example, using a marginal gains approach across the HR Pathway (see the following free-to-access tool): http://www.k3cubed.co.uk/#!hr-marginal-gains/l2rkc

      This snapshot purely looking at the state of the KM field, according to jobs with KM in the title, which I have argued for a long time to be stuck in an IM silo. You’ll see from our projects that we rarely talk to organisations about KM these days – KM actually being tantamount to a swear word with many early adopters of the function. More than this, I conduct this research to demonstrate to those that believe that KM is responsible for innovation/knowledge sharing/lessons learned et al. that KM is not fit-for-purpose.

      You might want to look at our KM Observatory report, which we believe to be one of the most in-depth reports on the state of the field: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidGriffithsPhD/kmo-2015-report-copy

      Also, yes, I could provide multiple examples from our projects where your assumptions are incorrect. But that is perhaps why people engage us – we know how to respond to the short term, by creating impact, while embedding/integrating structures/processes/leadership models to create sustainable impact (adaptive capability/resilience) over the long term.

      1. Ok, then we are in agreement. Since I have been reviewing KM jobs actively for the past 8 years, I can absolutely confirm that at least 90% of the postings have been for explicit knowledge, rarely for any type of innovation capability. And to my point, if companies are posting for any type of tacit knowledge management or innovation, rarely do they use KM in the job posting, or post for something like that at all.

      2. Sorry, Lisa, I didn’t recognise your user name in the original post – hope you enjoyed your UK vacation! However, I still think we will have to agree to disagree. Our research/engagements, as well as much of the literature in the field, clearly demonstrate that organisations believe that the KM function is, or is capable of, “managing” “tacit” knowledge (e.g. lessons learned programs) and therefore they do/have use/d KM in their job postings. Given the state of the field, I agree that this belief is often mistaken, but the belief, which has been socially constructed over two decades, still exists – e.g. look at IT KM “solution” claims (e,g, SharePoint) that KM surfaces/deploys/distributes tacit knowledge.

        Thank you for the contribution – sorry we disagree. But, please, feel free to signpost links to your research, as I’m sure people would find it useful to compare/contrast data on the field.

  2. I would laugh if it weren’t so obvious…but KM is an internal mind function…as the mind naturally creates know based only on facts or proof to be true….and only in the mind…..
    So only that mind owner can manage thier know….
    Until we collectively get to common mental tellopathy…we will never have knowledge management…..I too was a sharepoint guru…labeled a KM specialist…and I argued that title everyday…but…KM had already been sold as a tangible….meaning manageble…..and then the commercial KM venues….
    And today……no KM…..based on managing knowledge…..none!
    But…we believe everything we see and hear on TV…so its gotta be true….ha.

Leave a Reply