The lack of productivity is failing the economy.

Since the announcement of the annual Budget in November, the official forecasting body, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has reduced its growth predictions for this year and next; suggesting that the lack of productivity is a direct cause for the slowing of economic growth.

Although unemployment is coming in lower than the OBR expected, and the public finances so far this year have looked healthier than anticipated, the general consensus has been that Britain is enduring a period of gloom. This is partially due to interest rates being expected to rise faster than previously and exceeding the rate of inflation and economic growth.

Productivity growth, the ability to get more economic output from the same amount of inputs, is the key to long-term growth. For the last seven years, there has been no improvement and it is likely to remain that way.

There are two ways to grow an economy: by employing additional resources or by improving the output of existing ones. Most recently employment has been the primary method, and in March, productivity growth was expected to increase by 1.5% this year. The hard data, though, is suggesting a fall of 0.2%.

A key factor in the developments of a workforce’s productivity is the introduction of new technologies. Digital transformation and the improving technologies available enables new ways of learning and continues to empower people and organisations to do more with their existing resources.

Leading tech corporation Microsoft, has proposed that positive economic opportunities will be generated when technology becomes increasingly accessible to organisations that undergo digital transformation to help nurture a future-ready workforce.

“We definitely want more productivity and efficiency, but we do not want to degrade humanity. We want technology to provide new levels of inclusiveness,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was quoted as saying at a recent event in the US.

A recent report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has reported that improved productivity is essential in order to accommodate the rising National Minimum Wage. Last week, the Government announced the minimum wage would be increasing by 33p per hour in April, giving struggling retailers four months to find an additional £633.6 per year, per full-time staff member.

The Industrial Strategy white paper said retail, tourism and hospitality’s “lower average productivity levels” and the large number of people the sectors employ makes them prime opportunities for improvement.

There has been a real appetite within these main sectors to improve the productivity of the staff, and ShopWorks is looking to improve efficiencies with a bespoke Workforce Management solutions. The staff scheduling providers are working closely within these sectors to progressively drive up the earning power of people employed in these industries and enhance national productivity.

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