Ann Francke calls for investment in management skills training as productivity weakens

15 February 2017 -


Britain’s economy experienced a slowdown in productivity at the end of 2016, according to new data released today

Jermaine Haughton

The UK’s productivity grew at just 0.3% between October and December 2016, new Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal, a 0.1% fall compared to the 0.4% growth recorded between July and September 2016.

The weakening of output growth during the fourth quarter of 2016 is a result of slightly slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth, a small increase in average weekly hours worked and stronger employment figures, the ONS research explains.

But Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said hiring and training better bosses can be the solution to the long-term productivity puzzle that allows UK Plc to be more competitive and face up to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

“Today’s ONS productivity statistics are bad news for business and government leaders already anxious about growth, finance and access to overseas talent as we face the challenges of Brexit,” Francke said. “But we often overlook the biggest boost to productivity: better bosses.”

It has been calculated that poor management costs the British economy £84bn each year, and with over three quarters of British bosses having never been trained for their role - something Francke calls the UK’s accidental managers - not enough is currently being done to rectify the problem.

“Four out of five British bosses are 'accidental managers' who've never been trained,” Francke said. £Investing in apprenticeships to boost management talent - such as the Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship - as well as technical skills, is a vital part of building a globally competitive UK plc.

“We need better home-grown leaders, and more of them, to close the productivity gap. Better people skills will also help to raise trust in business, create greater diversity and improve employee engagement - all of which, in turn, will also boost productivity.”

Read more: The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship from CMI

The services industries was the main driver of growth in output during the fourth quarter of 2016, similar to previous quarters.  It was the sole contributor to the quarter-on-quarter percentage change in GDP, with production, construction and agriculture each contributing nothing to the growth of output over this period.

In particular consumer-focused businesses, such as retail trade; travel agencies; and the trade and repair of motor vehicles, all performed strongly.

There was signs of growth in the production industries, where manufacturing output increased by 0.7% in the last three months of 2016. The ONS report shows electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply increased by 3.9%; and water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities grew by 1.7%.

Unfortunately, this positive growth was offset by a 6.9% fall in mining and quarrying output. Construction output was also estimated to have increased by 0.1% during the fourth quarter of 2016, following a fall of 0.8% during third quarter 2016.

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