Looking at numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two academics writing in the Harvard Business Review conclude that there were 23.8 million managers, first-line supervisors, and administrators in the American workforce in 2014. On average, each of these managers supervises 4.7 employees. Managers and administrators made up 17.6% of the U.S. workforce and received nearly 30% of total compensation. The authors think that results in waste approaching $3 trillion.
The authors don't think the number of managers is justified. Their judgment is based on what they call "post-bureaucratic pioneers". These pioneers run their complex businesses with less than half the managerial load typically found in large companies. The average span of control in these and other vanguard organizations is more than double the U.S. average.
Are they cherry-picking?