UK productivity among the best in G7 companies, study shows

Jun 06, 2014  |  Branco Kuznar  |  news | 0 Comments

Group Seven countries, which include the world's leading economies outside the U.S., are often lauded for their productivity ratings, and according to one new study, the UK is running in the middle of the pack.

The Financial Times reports that the study, conducted by Cranfield University, assessed productivity in the countries' manufacturing sectors from the past 25 years, and found that the total productivity measure of the UK beat out both Germany and France. The measurement included productivity rates for traditional labor jobs, such as low-skill and part-time work opportunities, but also included work in the energy and intellectual capital areas.

However, the report did note that when it comes to the measurement of productivity most often used - manufacturing output per man hours worked - the UK still ranks very low on the G7 list. In fact, Japan is the only country that ranks below the UK in this regard.

The Financial Times spoke with Cranfield Professor Rajkumar Roy, and he stated that many who believe the UK has struggled with productivity in recent years may be "misinformed" because they have only been focusing on a single way to measure productivity.

"We need to focus on all aspects of productivity," he asserted.

Need for greater productivity makes companies go back to the basics
A new study from the U.S. nonprofit group the National Bureau of Economic Research uncovered what many global companies perceive to be the biggest drivers of productivity.

According to CGMA Magazine, the group identified three areas that are a surefire way to increase productivity: implementing continuous process improvement plans, setting manageable targets and ensuring they are met and focusing on careful hiring, promoting and rewarding the right employees.

"The practices ... appear to be informative for organizational performance across disparate sectors such as manufacturing, hospitals, schools and retail stores," experts at NBER wrote.

The NBER study confirmed what the experts at Cranfield asserted - UK productivity is likely much stronger than many believe, but in areas outside traditional labor. The NBER report found that the UK came in second for productive and well-managed hospitals, and the country was also home to some of the best-managed schools.

The takeaway from both reports may be that when productivity in the UK is measured outside of traditional metrics, it stacks up with the best in terms of overall productivity.

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