UK productivity growth failed to rise since financial crash

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​The UK’s productivity growth has failed to rise in Britain anywhere near the rates recorded prior to the financial crisis of 2008

Growth in productivity, a measure of economic output per hour of work, is nearly twice as bad as the previous worst decade for efficiency gains, which was 1971-1981.

Academics from the University of Sussex and Loughborough University found productivity had been impacted by the lasting effect of the financial crisis, uncertainty over post-Brexit trading and weaker gains from computer technologies in recent years.

They predicted the current slowdown had left productivity almost 20% below the level it would have been if Britain managed to maintain the growth recorded before the crisis.

However, Ben Hansford, apprenticeship expert and managing director of apprenticeships at Firebrand Training, said apprenticeships could help to solve the issue.

Using National Apprenticeship Week to gain traction, Hansford said apprenticeships offer companies the opportunity to place people in roles that they wouldn’t ordinarily be in, and therefore could play a vital role in creating a stronger workforce for companies.

Speaking to HR magazine, Hansford said: “Clear and strategic apprenticeship programmes allow HR professionals to step back, look at the workforce and identify the key job roles that they need to develop within the business.”

He suggested that if HR and employers were to do this, then they will be able to hire employees who have the necessary skills to enhance a workforce, and this in turn will make for more productive work.

“Apprenticeships work best when they are a part of a larger workforce development strategy as both employer and apprentice can find gaps in the company that, if addressed and solved, can make for a productive way of working moving forward."

Hansford was keen to point out that apprenticeships are not just for helping young people enter the workforce, but also to offer more opportunity to older people who could bring lots of skill and enthusiasm to a company.

He added: “Companies should not be closed minded when it comes to the age of their apprentices.

“Good apprenticeship schemes can also make a significant impact in terms of upskilling, supporting those who have had a long break, such as maternity leave, back into the workplace and increasing diversity by creating a new route into work besides university which can be inaccessible for many.

Further reading:

Three steps to improve happiness and productivity

Research reveals five main causes of poor workplace productivity

Grow your own talent: a practical guide to apprenticeship

Employees feel too old for apprenticeships


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