Last week, I sneaked into a conference given by the CBI at its headquarters on London’s Tottenham Court Road. After taking the express elevator to the 27th floor, I was greeted with one of the most spectacular views across London I have ever seen.
Below me were millions of ant-like people pottering around, oblivious to my maniacal cackling and thoughts of world domination from the top of the Centrepoint building.
Then the slimmed-down director general, Digby Jones (he’s running the marathon next year), took to the microphone and told us that 3.5 million of the UK workforce can’t read.
This scared me. If there are that many folk who are illiterate, how many of the rest of the workforce lack the skills they need to do their jobs properly?
Jones went on to say that the UK needs to get everyone skilled up in the next 10 years, as unskilled labour would all go offshore, followed by the skilled jobs shortly after.
Western companies and governments need to ‘upskill forever’, he said. The pressure to offshore is already ‘very great’ for one in five companies, according to the CBI.
I hope this scares you, because that’s the plan. Check immediately the skills levels of each of your employees. We are a few years away from workplace Armageddon. Train, train and then train some more. Like the Security Services, you won’t get public recognition for safeguarding British society, but you will save the nation.
As Digby is fond of saying: “China wants your lunch and India wants your dinner.” I guess all that running is weighing heavy on his mind…