A new study by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) examining the ways in which the UK can tackle the ‘productivity puzzle’ has been welcomed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

A new report from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) highlighting key steps for employer action to tackle productivity has been welcomed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The report, launched today, highlights the sharp drop in UK productivity, with output per hour worked in the UK 17 percent below the average for advanced G7 economies last year.

In order to tackle the issue, the report identifies seven levers for employers to help raise productivity, including a greater focus on job design and better utilisation of skills.

The report also points towards the need for more skilled managers, a view reinforced by UKCES in Growth Through People: Evidence and Analysis – which highlights the UK’s ‘long tail’ of weakly managed businesses failing to maximise the talents of their workers.

Michael Davis, chief executive of UKCES, said:

These findings further reinforce the need to boost productivity in the UK, secure economic growth and ensure we keep pace with international competitors.

Making better use of the skills we already have in our workforce is crucial to this. UKCES findings show that nearly half of UK employers have employees with skills that are not being fully utilised – effectively leaving talent lying on the table.

Increasing awareness of the role good management skills can play in changing this is also vital. The UK has a wide range of world leading businesses, but a larger than average proportion of those which are not performing.

Better job design, improved progression routes and a greater investment in developing the skills and talents of our workers can also help to future-proof our economy, guarding against the challenges which lie ahead.

Such a response requires a consolidated effort, with businesses, government and education providers all working collaboratively towards securing a more prosperous future and cementing growth in the UK.

UKCES’ views on the significant issues facing skills and employment in the UK, as well as five key priorities to address these challenges, can be found in Growth Through People: a statement on skills in the UK.