A shortage of leadership and management skills is undermining the UK’s potential to increase productivity, says Chris Jones, chief executive of City & Guilds. But how can we turn the tide?
Productivity is a buzzword right now. But while UK productivity showed small signs of growth towards the end of 2015, it is still around 20 percentage points below that of the rest of the G7 economies. So it’s no surprise that business and government are all talking about tackling the productivity puzzle. The challenge is, where to start? Is it about putting people to work and reducing unemployment? Is it about helping young people acquire the skills they need to work? How about following countries like Sweden and France and reducing working hours or restricting emails after work? All have been the subject of speculation and discussion over the past few months. But, I think there’s one area that hasn’t been explored enough – and that’s very simply, boring, good old-fashioned management. We need to make sure people have the right skills to be productive. Our managers are key to achieving this. However, the latest UKCES Employer Skills Survey found that while 58% of employers said management and leadership skills were lacking, only 37% of employers invest in management training – even though Employer training budgets have increased by £2.4 billion since 2013.
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