How to Calculate Manpower Ratios

Updated April 17, 2017

Various manpower ratios exist in the context of production or service offerings. A manpower ratio is the ratio of some measure of manpower (typically man hours) to a measure of some other production input. For example, in a capital-intensive industry, such as computer chip manufacturing, the manpower-to-capital ratio would be relatively low, because the technical nature of the work requires advanced machinery to do most of the work. By contrast, a labour-intensive industry, such as textile manufacturing, would have a relatively high manpower-to-capital ratio. Other manpower ratios might include, for example, manpower-to-land ratios in an agricultural setting. Additionally, population-manpower ratios are also sometimes created to compare the workforce of a country or region with the overall population.

Identify the measurement you wish to use as the other variable in the ratio. This could be a measurement of capital, land, population or any other relevant variable. It is important to have a measurement that is quantifiable. For example, if using capital, you would likely convert this variable into dollar amounts or possibly number of machines.

Measure the amount of manpower you are working with. This could be done with the number of people employed in a particular business or with the number of man hours worked. Typically, man hours is a more effective measurement, especially in a production context. Depending on the application, it can be helpful to measure manpower with respect to a particular output. For example, measure how many man hours are used to produce 1,000 units of a particular product.

Measure your additional variable. If you are using raw materials, for example, it will again be helpful to consider the amount of that input needed to produce a specific output.

Create the ratio. If you are using manpower-to-raw materials as your ratio, measure how much manpower goes into a specific level of output (say, 1,000 units) and compare that number to the amount of raw material used to create that same level of production. For example, if it takes 500 man hours and 10 tons of raw material to produce 1,000 units of production, the manpower ratio, denoted in man hours tons of raw material, would be 50:1.

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About the Author

Bryan Richards has been writing since 2002. His work has appeared in the "Eau Claire Leader Telegram," the "Wisconsin State Journal" and "Small Business Opportunities." His areas of expertise include business and legal topics. Richards graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Journalism where he also majored in economics and political science. He is currently a JD/MBA student at the University of Minnesota.