The UK’s productivity performance – as reported by the Office for National Statistics and used in international performance tables- has been woeful recently. I know I have argued in the past that the measurement scheme seems inherently flawed but that is irrelevant to today’s argument.
There seems a consensus emerging that the figures are so bad – and have been for so long – that the problem is insoluble. Certainly no-one seems to have come up with a plan to address the situation.
I know there is no magic bullet – no quick and easy fix …. but we can tackle the issue by making sure we take a holistic approach in which government does what it can (with infrastructure and skills), organisations do what they can (with long-term investment, improvement programmes and skills), unions do what they can (with constructive partnerships and skills) and education/training does what it can (with targeted knowledge and skills).
You can probably see a theme emerging here. We need a high skill, multi-skill workforce. We don’t currently have one. We perhaps need a lesser focus on knowledge (more easily provided in a high-tech, AI world) and a greater one on competence and flexibility. If we invest in a high skill workforce, everyone benefits – the individuals with the skills, companies who need the skilled workforce – and the nation with higher productivity.
Perhaps after all, there is a magic bullet!