UK among most productive countries in the world

The UK is one of the most productive countries in the world depending on which sector you work in, according to an international survey by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

The research, commissioned by the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), focused on organisational productivity performance from 23 different sectors and 16 countries, including Japan, Canada and the US.

The UK almost came out top on food and drink manufacturing, transport and agriculture. Food and drink manufacturing came second only to Canada and transport second to the US. The agricultural sector, including forestry and fishing, ranked second to Japan.

Professor Mike Campbell, director of strategy and research at the SSDA, said: “Although the UK is the world’s fourth largest economy, and is currently enjoying a period of unprecedented stability, this research has highlighted there are areas of weakness and concern.

“Productivity variations do exist across different sectors of the economy, reinforcing the position that no single skills strategy can be applied to all sectors.”

The largest gaps were between manufacturing and the service sectors, with the UK’s financial services coming out at a disappointing 14th. Wholesale and retail also fared badly as the penultimate poor performers.

Campbell warned: “Unless solutions can be found, the UK could find itself overtaken by its economic rivals in the global market and unable to fulfil the promise of its business and public services and the aspirations of individuals.”

There were some difficulties in ascertaining the productivity differences between countries, such as a general lack of international compatibility.

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