How many people work in slovenia (and on what)

April 30th, 2013 § 12 comments


bakery (Photo credit: Sachiho)

Slovenia is a small country. it’s a fact, but unfortunately this realization is too often used as an excuse to not do something right. In my opinion, this means two other things:

  1. because it’s a small country, we can have much better overview of activities, if only we choose so. our national statistics centre is able to produce monthly insights into many aspects of the society without much effort, so we actually have data available that could be used to empower better decisions easily.
  2. because we don’t have infinite pool of human resources, we have to be more careful on where we employ them.

I don’t see enough efforts on either part, and I’m pretty sure very few people in slovenia are actually aware of the actual distribution of human potential of the country, which results in lots of ungrounded frustrations and much ranting about “too big government sector” or “too little economic growth“, without data to back it up.

So i wanted to get better sense of what our high level structure is. here is first draft of a breakdown of slovenian population:

… every slovenian resident can find herself in exactly one of the squares. now we can observe some interesting facts, some that we have known before, and some that might be a surprise:

  •  government is not so big. 40.000 people work across the administration. the same for public sector – all our education and health is run by only 5% of the population
  • i ventured into separating private sector into two halves – the pseudo-private sector are people employed in companies that are funded mainly from public sources. i’ll get more accurate data, but i believe this distinction is important, because those companies are not actually creating value on the market, but rather live off national budget.
  • so my theory is, that until we get more people from all other buckets into the real private sector, there is little hope of solving the economic crisis. if all our growth is dependent on government projects, and only 16% of people daily work on and think about adding value to the

complete data table is:

sector group headcount percent
slovenija 2,050,000 100.00%
pre-active slovenija 430,000 20.98%
active slovenija 940,000 45.85%
inactive slovenija 680,000 33.17%
kids under 15 pre-active 250,000 12.20%
young students pre-active 90,000 4.39%
student pre-active 90,000 4.39%
government active 40,000 1.95%
public sector active 110,000 5.37%
pseudo-private active 330,000 16.10%
real private active 340,000 16.59%
unemployed active 120,000 5.85%
other inactive 110,000 5.37%
retired inactive 570,000 27.80%

i’m imagining next steps for this visualization will be:

  1. make it update itself from monthly data
  2. add more complexity, adding ability to drill into individual sectors
  3. create a comparable breakdown of added-value, or contribution to GDP, or something similar, to back my thesis that we need more people in the real private sector.

thoughts? what else do you see in the chart?

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§ 12 Responses to How many people work in slovenia (and on what)"

  • Matic Bitenc says:

    I’m glad you’re making this visualisation, it’s a very interesting data set and pertinent to any debate on the structural problems. I’d be curious to know which data source are you using (NSU?) and what’s the main differentiation between the real private and pseudo private? Is it based on the % of business they do with the government or on the ownership of the company by the government?

    • admin says:


      real-pseudo is made up at this point, but the point i’m trying to make is that if a company is getting 80-90% of revenues from government or government-owned agencies/companies, it’s not really on the market. the ratio 50-50 is made up at the moment, but some well informed friends claim it can’t be far from reality 🙂

  • I read about those numbers a few days ago somewhere but the chart makes it even more disturbing.

  • Gal says:

    carsko! kot si že omenil, za part 2 bi bilo fino dobiti metriko, ki bi kazala, koliko %BDPja prispeva posamični segment…

  • Tomaž Jug says:

    I wonder what is hidden under “other”… That is like 5% of the population doing what? But the most shocking thing is that one working individual must maintain 3 people and this ratio will get even worse. I am not sure that there is enough added value in our economy to support this. Why our gov cant see that?

    • admin says:

      I am sure the government sees that, but the people dont. We should all be more responsible in the public debate.

      And people on their own should have more initiative. The government cant make anyone take responsibility to open a company or to stop taking help for unemployed when you dont need it. For instance.

  • Ana Colja says:

    I would like to add a comment hoping to expand the point of view. I guess that all NGOs are included in the pseudo-private sector. Most of them are mostly financially supported by the government (ministries, municipalities, EU funds, if I can dare put them under government, etc.). A lot of NGOs provide services that help making our country a welfare state, it helps provide citizens better social security, cultural engagement, education etc. Some NGOs in my opinion provide those services that should be provided by the government itself.
    So, are they pseudo-private or pseudo-public sector? My question is related to the sources of financing of NGOs (they are actually private because the content of their work is not dictated by the state, or at least sort of). As said, they are mostly financed by the government. Not because they are lazy, but because they provide free services for citizens (free because of the reasons stated above and because the services they provide are mostly provided to people that can not afford to pay the service). Well, I simplified, there are a lot of problems and facts that should be discussed and also this part of the private sector could do better in self-financing, but still adds a little information to the graphic (which I find most interesting, btw). Maybe, if you added NGOs to the pseudo-public sector, it would actually seem a bit bigger (I must admit that the number might be a lot smaller than I imagine)? Surely, I agree on the fact that the real private sector should be bigger in order to ensure better possibilities for all, in the system we live in.

    • admin says:


      thanks for this comment and making a great point – i didn’t mention ngo’s at all, but i should. i assumed they were in the pseudo-private sector as you guessed.

      you are also right that ngo’s behave much differently than private companies that are financed by public money, so it might actually make sense to add the pseudo-public sector you are suggesting.

      now i just need to find out how many people work there 🙂

  • Great undertaking! Data is always more powerful than hype

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