European countries combined have a knowledge economy as big as the US, but a failure to invest in learning has caused a slowdown in the continent’s technological progress.
This is the main finding of a report published today by the Work Foundation , which found that while Europe has more than 40% of workers employed in knowledge-based industries the continent has not matched the US in terms of economic growth.
It concluded this was largely because European companies have not invested as much in their knowledge base and may be suffering a slowdown in technological progress as a result.
Ian Brinkley, director of the knowledge economy programme at the Work Foundation, said: “The indications are that the countries prepared to invest in knowledge and have the ability to make the most of that knowledge on the whole perform better.
“Knowledge is critical to the economic destiny of the EU, and the continent is now well on the path to being a knowledge economy both in terms of gross domestic product from its knowledge industries and in terms of employment in knowledge work.
“Where it falls down is that it has simply failed to invest enough. The priority must now be for policy makers to encourage organisations – especially private sector organisations – to invest much more in knowledge in the future.”