Grr

As a result of relatively weak management, UK firms have, in general, lower
take-up of new technologies and processes than in other advanced countries;
and their use of skills is poorer.82 It is often remarked that the UK has a skills
problem, but this is generally thought to be one of insufficient supply of
appropriately skilled workers. In fact, the deficiency lies as much in the demand
for skills. Many British businesses are not organising their workforces in a way
that maximises the productivity of the workers they currently have, and they do
not seek to employ enough workers with higher skills.83 A recent cross-European
study estimates that one-third of adult employees in the UK, over five million
people, are overqualified for their job, the highest proportion in the EU.84
This approach is only possible because the UK has one of the most flexible, or
deregulated, labour markets in the developed world. The World Economic Forum
ranks the UK eighth of 140 countries in terms of labour market flexibility.85 It
is now possible for an employer to take on a worker with almost no attached
responsibilities on the employer’s part, or rights for the worker, at all. From the
perspective of productivity, it has become too easy and too cheap to raise output
by adding a low-wage worker rather than by investing in new technology or
innovating in workplace organisation. It is notable that the development of the
‘gig economy’ and other forms of casualised work has occurred much faster and
further in the UK than in many other developed countries.86
One result of this is that we have a much higher employment rate than most
other countries. But this has been achieved at the expense of productivity.
The UK has effectively gained high employment through low wages and poor
working conditions. In too many sectors the UK economy has fallen into a
low-pay, low-productivity equilibrium.87 Without reform of our labour markets,
and a much stronger effort to get businesses to invest in new technology and
in workplace innovation, it is difficult to see how we can climb out of it.

Reimpose all the labour regulations so that companies hire fewer people? That’ll work well, yes?

9 thoughts on “Grr”

  1. A recent cross-European study estimates that one-third of adult employees in the UK, over five million people, are overqualified for their job, the highest proportion in the EU.

    Why is it the fault of UK business that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with useless degrees? How many jobs really are out there for graduates in journalism, film studies and Queer Theory?

  2. ‘As a result of relatively weak management’

    Gauleiters MUST be put in charge! They will make the correct decisions for business.

  3. “… the UK has a skills problem … the deficiency lies as much in the demand for skills. …”

    Ha! Ain’t that the truth. UK recruitment practice is “we want a Corsa driver. You drive a Polo? F*** off, we’re not going to get off our arse and point to where the headlight switch is different in a Corsa to a Polo, or even let you have ten minutes’ prodding to find out for yourself”.

  4. “over five million people, are overqualified for their job, the highest proportion in the EU.”
    “Why is it the fault of UK business …?”

    I’m overqualified for my job. I’m a software engineer/programmer/coder, but my current job is IT fitter, one step up from pizza delivery boy. I can’t even bring myself to describe myself as the E-word my employers claim I am.

  5. @ jgh
    “why is it the fault of UK business…”
    Because they hire a HR department
    The results are much better if the line manager who is responsible for his team’s performance hires the guy. The losses in productivity due to nepotism and favouritism were limited by the tendency of the whole team to be sacked or made redundant if performance was too bad and are swamped by those due to hiring people on the basis of gender ethnicity and completely irrelevant paper. qualifications.

  6. The last coding job I got was due to a fellow-coder hearing his line manager muse that needed a couple of extra people for a few months to finish the project, he gave her my details, she phoned me and interviewed me personally. It never went anywhere near HR until I was giving them my BACS details.

  7. jgh, it’s too bad HR didn’t get to “help.”

    I knew it was over when the personnel department became “human resources.”

  8. @Rob

    “A recent cross-European study estimates that one-third of adult employees in the UK, over five million people, are overqualified for their job, the highest proportion in the EU.”

    Another equally valid conclusion would be that a third of adult employees really like their current job ( or at least prefer it to the one they are qualified for).

    That’s my position. If I’d stayed an MD, I’d get fewer jollies and more paperwork.

  9. One result of this is that we have a much higher employment rate than most
    other countries. But this has been achieved at the expense of productivity.

    What exactly is the expense here? Fewer people sat on their arses doing little or nothing in 20 odd European countries when they could be doing something the market will pay them for here is an expense because it brings down the average productivity here compared to a counterfactual of shutting them out of the labour market with stupid restrictions on migration and regulations. Sounds like a benefit to me. These people are delusional.

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