Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner arrives at the Computer History Museum to host a Linkedin town hall meeting with US President Barack Obama September 26, 2011 in Mountain View, California / AFP/Getty Images

Site launches new hub for students who feel universities ‘don’t teach them the skills they need to find a job’

The professional social network LinkedIn has announced its members in the UK have passed the 15 million landmark for the first time – including five Britons who claim to be mermaids.

The site’s membership includes the likes of David Cameron, Bill Gates and Cristiano Ronaldo, and with 277 million members has the largest number of users of any online professional network in the world.

The extraordinary rise in British users represents around five million new members in less than two years, while in 2010 there were just two million UK employees registered on the website.

While its users include nearly 375,000 people who list their occupation as engineer, 50,000 solicitors and 12,500 journalists, it also boasts 146 chimney sweeps, 59 bodybuilders and almost 745 magicians.

Yet despite its growing popularity, LindedIn’s communications manager Darain Faraz says a relative minority are using the site to its full potential.

He told the Metro newspaper: “Brits are not very good at showing off and blowing their own trumpets. You’ve got this prime piece of digital real estate to really present yourself in the best possible light. A LinkedIn profile is that CV that never sleeps.”

To coincide with reaching its landmark of 15 million users, LinkedIn has also today launched a dedicated hub for students looking for help getting onto the job market – the sorts of people the site is increasingly having to cater for.

“A lot of students feel that the current economic climate has put their dreams on hold,” said Faraz. “They feel they’re not really ready for the world of work and universities don’t necessarily teach them the skills they need to find that job.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the IT industry is the best-represented on LinkedIn, with 540,000 users saying they work in the sector. The five UK employers with the most staff on the site are RBS, Barclays, Lloyds, Tesco and the NHS.

London has the most members of any other UK region signed up with LinkedIn, with 2.3 million people.

Birmingham is second with 284,000 people, followed by Manchester with 250,000 and Reading with 213,000.