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Boosting skill levels not enough to tackle productivity problem

Clare McNeil

Reacting to the Green Paper on industrial strategy IPPR calls for more investment in & use of skills by employers. In response to the government’s announcement that the Prime Minister is using the first regional Cabinet meeting to launch a modern Industrial Strategy, setting out plans to enable everyone to develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future, Clare McNeil, IPPR Associate Director for Work and Families.

The Prime Minister is right to argue that enabling everyone to develop the skills they need is crucial as we look to a post-Brexit future. However, if the government is serious about improving productivity it will not be enough to boost skill levels alone – more will need to be done to improve the investment in and use of skills by employers. The past decade has seen significant improvements in the skills levels of the population, but over the same period, productivity has stagnated, growing by just one percent, pay has stalled, and one in five employees are still stuck in low-paid work. Too few employers are making the best use of their employees skills to improve companies’ performance.

“Two-thirds of the workforce of 2030 have already left full time education, so the workplace and opportunities for lifetime learning are key. It is vital that as part of its industrial strategy the government introduces reforms that will both encourage employers to invest in their workforce, and support them to make better use of their skills as part of a high-productivity competitive strategy.”

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