Managers point the finger over UK’s productivity gap

Senior managers across the country expect huge increases in productivity in the next five years, but have accused their peers of undermining Britain’s progress and leaving it languishing behind its competitors.

A survey of 700 senior managers across the UK, by Investors in People and the Future Foundation, found that the country’s boardrooms anticipate an average productivity increase of 23 per cent in the next five years.

This impressive level of optimism, if applied across the UK, would equate to an increase in output of 257.5bn by 2009.

However, the same managers are more pessimistic when asked to consider the country as a whole. Only one in five believe that British organisations focus enough on improving productivity, and a clear majority (55 per cent) forecast productivity will continue to lag behind that of our international competitors. And 56 per cent think sub-standard management skills are a major contributory factor in these productivity problems.

Commenting on the findings, Ruth Spellman, chief executive of Investors in People, said: “Britain is employing more people than ever before, but the country still lags behind competitors in terms of employee productivity.

“Although three-quarters of senior managers make the link between effective employee development and increased productivity, they are failing to convert this into action. It seems that senior managers still see productivity as someone else’s problem, which is disturbing and potentially damaging, not just to their organisations, but to the UK as a whole.

“Britain’s boardrooms must take action now to prioritise employee development if they are to achieve their business goals and help the country rise to its productivity challenge.”

This is Investors in People Week and a revised IIP standard is to be launched tomorrow.

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