Productivity boost ‘a small step when giant leap needed’

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has cautiously heralded the latest UK official productivity figures.

Input and output
Ian Brinkley, CIPD’s acting chief economist, said the 0.9% increase in output per hour during the third quarter of 2017 is welcome, but pointed out this growth, driven largely by the manufacturing and financial services sectors, could be temporary.

Post-Brexit productivity and competitiveness

“While this increase in productivity is a welcome and positive start to 2018, 0.9% is still a small step at a time when giant leaps are needed,” he said. "Moreover, it is too early to say whether this is a sustained recovery or, as we have seen in the past, a temporary blip that ends in disappointment.“The UK's productivity remains well below pre-crash levels and with Brexit around the corner, unless a more concerted effort is made to improve productivity, we won’t be in a strong enough position to compete once we leave the EU.”
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Productivity and the Industrial Strategy

The government’s flagship Industrial Strategy makes productivity a top economic priority and fundamental for sustainable wage growth.Public investment in skills, technology and infrastructure aim to help the government deliver this goal. However, the CIPD has previously criticised the government's plans for not being more ambitious on skills and training, especially on retraining and life-long learning.On the latest data, Mr Brinkley said: “If the government is making New Year’s resolutions, playing a more active role in highlighting the barriers to productivity for UK organisations and stepping in where needed would be wise."Investment in skills will be key in 2018, creating higher skilled, higher value roles for people to progress into."

Good work practices, effective management and productivity

The CIPD has also urged greater focus on the role of good work, management skills and productivity, as well as skills, which Mr Brinkley reinforced in his response to the productivity data.“Equally important will be improving the way people are both managed and developed at work, unleashing productivity by allowing employees to use their initiative, be innovative and be stimulated by their work, leaving the restrictions of unnecessary workplace procedures behind in 2017," he concluded.For related news and features, visit our HR section. Look out for the launch of 2018's Relocate Awards, entries open this month. Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory