LinkedIn has reached 500 million members worldwide, the professional networking site has said.

The figure suggests LinkedIn, which was bought by Microsoft last year, is one of the largest social networking platforms.

But it remains some distance behind Facebook, which has more than 1.8 billion active users.

The website also revealed new research that had found just under a fifth (19%) of its members had successfully found a new job through their network of business connections made on the site.

"Taking small, simple, regular steps to feed and grow your professional network will help you accelerate your career, whether that means landing a new job, climbing the ladder at your current organisation or switching industries," the company said said.

"Every single connection you make opens up an average of 400 new people that you could get introduced to and build relationships with, taking you one step closer to reaching your career goals," it added.

The business social network, which was founded in the US in 2002, employs 1,000 people at its EMEA headquarters in Ireland.