The country needs to address its outdated management practices if it is to succeed in business.

That is according to Work Wise UK, an initiative which aims to encourage the adoption of smarter working practices.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, made his comments in response to new research by the Work Foundation, which revealed employees’ skills are being underused.

Mr Flaxton explained that adults are treated "like children at work" and need to be judged on their "output and not input".

He suggested that restrictive working hours needed to be replaced by a "flexible smarter working regime", which he said could have a "significant impact on productivity and the competitiveness of an organisation".

The Work Foundation survey revealed that 40 per cent of employees questioned have little or no flexibility over the hours they work.

It also uncovered an issue with college leavers being under utilised in the workplace, as some 20 per cent of graduates questioned were found to be in "low knowledge content" jobs.