Industrial Strategy ‘falls short on management and skills’

The CIPD and the CMI have criticised the new Industrial Strategy for not adequately addressing the role of management and workforce skills in raising productivity.

Productivity puzzle image of hands and cogs
Responding independently to the new Industrial Strategy white paper, launched yesterday by Business Secretary, Greg Clark, the professional body for HR and people development, the CIPD, and the CMI, the Chartered Management Institute, have called out what they believe is a lack of emphasis of the role of management and skills in closing the productivity gap.

Bank of England assessment links productivity to management quality

The CMI called the strategy “a missed opportunity” to emphasise the link between good management and UK productivity. This, it says, was recognised in last week’s budget by the Bank of England’s assessment that improved management and leadership is a key factor in boosting productivity.“Buried in the white paper is the Bank of England’s damning assessment that management skills account for a quarter of the productivity gap between the UK and US,” said CMI director of strategy, Petra Wilton. “The Industrial Strategy is a missed opportunity to correct one of the biggest drains on UK productivity – poor management and leadership skills.” 
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Industrial Strategy skills support too narrow?

The government is promising extra funds to support the Industrial Strategy, including reskilling in the digital and construction sectors. However, the CIPD believes the plans are too exclusive to be truly effective.“The government is right to set the goal of creating a modern Industrial Strategy to help businesses create high-quality, well-paid jobs right across the country,” said Ben Willmott, the CIPD’s head of public policy.”However, the level of investment and ambition announced today, particularly relating to skills and how they are used in the workplace, is inadequate given the scale of the productivity challenge facing the UK.“The plans set out today are too exclusive to have the impact required, with the sector deals focusing on important but narrow high-tech and construction sectors that together account for less than 15% of UK employment."On skills, there is nothing in the strategy that addresses the UK’s chronic under investment in adult skills and life-long learning, with the focus mainly on education policy and the supply of skilled labour for the future in niche sectors,” Mr Wilmott continued. “The National Retraining Scheme seems primarily focused on the use of educational technology for students in two small sectors.”

Leaders encouraged to ‘Be the Business’

Pledging to continue to support the ongoing work of the Productivity Leadership Group – a government-backed, business-led coalition chaired by Sir Charlie Mayfield – and its Be the Business initiatives, the CMI’s Petra Wilton said the management body is looking forward to “helping businesses to benchmark their productivity, and then access and share best management practices” through the schemes.“We look forward to supporting this work to help the professional development of managers and leaders to gain the world-class skills we need to help us to become a global powerhouse.”Read more coverage in the Winter Issue of Relocate Magazine. For related news and features, visit our HR section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open in January. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory