|Note: Minions should rarely be this|
As I discussed in chapter one, ruling the world is simply too large a job for just one supervillain (yes, even one as impressive as you - have you been paying any attention?) Most other worthy supervillain ambitions also fall into this category, the only possible exception being if you plan to do something with computers. (And if that's the case, then I feel it's my duty to tell you that computer-based plans for world domination don't get much further these days than scaring traditional news media. Besides, anonymity is the name of the game with hacking-based evil - the only thing you could really do under your own name is the takeover of a company, and with the economy the way it is that can be accomplished by a reasonably clever and well-funded 12 year-old).
If it helps, don’t think of them as personnel. Goons is quite a popular term, but can seem out of place if the employees aren’t suitably hulking. Minions, however, can be applied to a far wider range of staff. Minions can be made to do all sorts of dirty work, from helping to build your fortress of terror to arguing with the phone company that no, no one from this number ever made a 20 minute long distance phone call to San Quentin, and you have no idea why they would even think such a thing.
Also, they tend to be very convenient for standing in the way of bullets that would have otherwise ended up in your very attractive person (bodyguards, one of the greatest uses for minions that I have personally ever heard of) or throwing themselves on the hero in a fight. Of course, unless they are particularly impressive minions, they will be immediately defeated by the hero by something as incredibly ludicrous as a single punch to the jaw.
Yes, I know this is unfair. I completely agree with you, and would urge you to write your congressman (or have them assassinated, depending on your opinions of civic involvement) if I thought it would do any good. But it won't - it's written into the heroes contract, and there's nothing we can do about it. So I would advise you to, instead of worrying about it, allocate more minions for just that purpose, and consider every time they fall as one less bruise for you.
Also, minions endowed with a certain degree of intelligence (not as common as you might think, sadly) are great at information gathering. The obnoxiously snobby fellows with headsets and mouthpieces stationed in front of computers that always seem to be surrounding international supervillains in the movies are great examples of this. They always seem to be shouting something to whoever has been declared in charge for that particular scene, and it must be important enough that they haven't all been shot before this (though I suspect one of them is there strictly for ordering take-out). The great failsafe is for one of them to be "watching the perimeter," but any other information they should get for you is, of course, completely up to you. You can't expect me to handle everything.
As an added bonus, minions simply make you look more cool. Don't ask me why this happens, but the general thought process of anyone watching seems to be "Well, I thought he was the scum of the Earth (don't kill them at this point - it gets better) but he does seem to be able to control all these people. Oooooooh, he must be much more scary and impressive than we thought!" The fact that most of these people are here simply because you have promised to pay them a healthy sum of money (whether you'll actually deliver is entirely up to you) and they are less scrupulous then some of their fellow humans is for some reason never mentioned. For the sake of your image, I suggest you keep it that way.
Next: The Hiring Process, or Torture Is Optional