Skill up!

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!

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