The (Mis) Allocation of Talent?


Hat tip to@PankajPachauri for this interesting table.  I had a couple of thoughts on it:

1. Very disconcerting that the DOD is the #1 employer in the world.  Great stagnation anyone?

2.  The UK only has a population of 63 million people.  How can 1.7 million of those work for the National Health?  That’s over 2.5% of the total population!  And that doesn’t account for children and old people.

3. For a still poor country, China’s Defense Department employs a lot of people, making me wonder what the implications of this are for the country’s future productivity.

17 thoughts on “The (Mis) Allocation of Talent?

  1. according to this
    9% of total employment in USA is in healthcare. I do not know how to translate to % of population, nor what % of UK healthcare workforce is accounted for by NHS. If you want to know the resources allocated to healthcare, why not look at % of GDP statistics across countries? I think you are just looking at here at how things are organized – the UK is unusual because the vast majority work for a single organization, not because it employs an unusually large number of healthcare workers.

    • The NHS is a State monopoly, the private sector may be about 2% or 3% of total healthcare provision dealing with elective, minor treatments: the NHS therefore employs almost all workers in healthcare in the UK.

      And yes it does employ an unusually large number of healthcare workers because all State monopolies are inherently inefficient and overstaffed. That is partly so because wages are paid according to grade. Grade levels are linked to length of service but in supervisory and management posts also linked to establishment. It is an incentive to managers to increase headcount to move them up a grade. This can be achieve by slowing throughput by introducing procedures, then reporting staff compliment is insufficient to cope with workload.

      The perpetual whine from the NHS, taken up by its political supporters, is understaffing and underfunding as an excuse after each new failure in service or ‘unnecessary’ deaths are revealed.

      Upon its return to Government, the current Conservatives are pledging two thousand more doctors… apparently they grown on trees… and an extra £8bn of funding.

      • The US figures apparently do not include those in the insurance industry who process claims, etc. They would be classified in the financial sector. Add those to the total, and the NHS doesn’t seem so out of step.

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  4. There are counting issues with any major military force. For example, the figure used involves full time military and civilian employees, but does not include reservists or national guard members.

    Also, why not count the entire federal government?

  5. Ruth Alexander of the BBC’s More or Less programme wrote an article looking at the different definitions of “employer” captured in that list:

    For example, the US DOD includes all branches of the military including civilian support staff. The PLA figure, by contrast, includes only active service members. If the US armed forces were counted the same way, the figure would be 1.6 million, not 3.1. I’ve no idea what the PLA’s count would be if it was calculated in the same way as the US DOD.

    Similarly, the NHS operates as a series of trusts that may or may not be considered individual employers. Since the NHS provides pretty much all UK healthcare, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to employ 2.5% of the population, particularly considering that healthcare accounts for 8% of UK GDP (using OECD 2013 figures).

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  7. DOD employs 3.2M directly, but since they independently stand up the defense industrial base, its safe to tack on 2M more

  8. The employer of defense workers is the USA government not the department of defense. I do not think you can break it down to departments. Would you do Walmart that way?

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  11. Talent always gets rewarded and there are too many examples for this, it is just about moving the talent into right place which will bring quality results for all. I am lucky that my partner for doing Forex trading is a seriously great broker OctaFX, it’s an 11 time award winning company which includes some of the most prestigious awards like best broker of Asia, Europe and many more countries while also has 24/5 active customer service to help us on everything!

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