17.11.10

What's in a job title?

Or more specifically what words are the the job titles of the top paid public servants?

The government published the roles and salaries of those top 345 public servants earning over £150,000 (pro rata per annum). A total paybill of £58m (More on that another time).

Interested to see for the first time in one place, the variety of titles for the top jobs. So what are the words that are most used to describe the nation’s top public jobs? Well a perfect job for the trusty word cloud.


get the graphic

A strong showing from the generic words me might expect – Chief, Director Executive. Then it’s mostly the terms with more public sector nuance….Officer, General, Secretary, Permanent, Chairman, before a very broad scattering of other more specific roles.

In one relatively simple approach the word cloud typifies the challenge for numerical analysis. Take some words, do the crunching and convert back to words. The wordcloud approach does this so simply and elegantly, and we seem to intuitively understand what’s going on (technically summing and weighting), without having to get into any numbers.

Actually, the world cloud does not provide the message, just the visualisation that allows us to distil the message(s). Overall the datacloud is a neat ambassador for the data analysis challenge.

See Guardian DataBlog: In Full the Highest paid Civil Servants. 1 June 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/may/31/senior-civil-servants-salaries-data