Saturday 31 December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011 Posted by Jake 2 comments Labels: , ,
Posted by Jake on Saturday, December 31, 2011 with 2 comments | Labels: , ,

At the end of December 2011, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published a report on what we are worth: "Human Capital Estimates 2010" 

This is not about what we own minus what we owe, but what we as animate objects, are worth. Our "Human Capital". The ONS' definition of Human Capital is:

“the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being.”

You may be flattered to know that:

  • "The UK’s human capital stock was worth £17.12 trillion in 2010."
  • "This is more than two-and-a-half times the UK National Accounts estimated value of the UK's tangible assets - buildings, vehicles, plant and machinery etc - at the beginning of 2010."

It may, or perhaps may not, give you a warm fuzzy feeling to know that you are valued at an average of just over £425,000:

According to the ONS, the key means of developing human capital are related to education:

• Learning within family and early childcare settings
Families contribute to the development of human capital in their children through direct expenditures on educational materials etc and through time spent fostering learning habits and attitudes.
• Formal education and training
This includes activities ranging from early childhood education, school-based compulsory education, post-compulsory vocational or general education, tertiary education, public labour market education, adult education etc.
• Workplace training
Firms and organisations invest in human capital to develop those skills and competencies with economic value.
• Informal learning
This is a wider concept taking place through ‘on-the-job’ learning, in daily living and through civic participation.

The importance of education in terms of hard cash:

So, let's leave 2011 on a positive note. At £425,000 your person, not including what you own, is worth on average 2.65 times the price of the average house in the UK.

Added 1/12/2014: The infographic below from the Office for National Statistics explains "Human Capital" quite nicely:

Human capital puts a monetary value on the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes of a person


  1. New figures for Human Capital published in August 2014

  2. The male/female human capital split was hilarious, especially given that the vast majority of women provide unpaid domestic labour and caring services out of "love" and "duty" for their husbands, children and wider family. I understand that this is left out of statistics because it's unpaid, but surely it should come in somewhere?

    This report, for example, puts unpaid female labour at 30-45% of Canadian GDP: ... haven't read it fully yet, only the summary, but still!


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