Last reviewed 6 March 2020

From the end of the Second World War until 2007 productivity in the UK grew at an annual rate of around 2% a year, but productivity growth rates have effectively flatlined since the 2007 financial crisis.

Strathclyde Business School is set to host a new multi-disciplinary hub to research how best to boost productivity within businesses and the UK economy.

The Productivity Outcomes of Workplace Practice, Engagement and Learning (PrOPEL) Hub is being supported by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding of more than £1.5 million as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

Principal Investigator Professor Graeme Roy, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde Business School said: “Boosting productivity is one of the greatest economic challenges facing the UK. There is a growing consensus on the importance of high quality, inclusive and engaging work to boosting productivity. But an often overlooked avenue through which managers and employees can create economic value — and thereby boost productivity — is via the workplace itself”.

The focus of the Hub will be on finding out “what works” and supporting the transfer of these lessons into day-to-day business activities.

It will support a range of activities, from the building of an accessible evidence base that practitioners and businesses can draw upon, through to a series of bespoke business and policy focussed events specifically designed to deliver impact.

A range of themes, from management and leadership, to innovation, job design, and lessons from workplace practice and employee engagement, will be studied, with the aim of identifying practical steps to boost productivity within businesses and the UK economy.

See https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=ES%2FT001771%2F1 for more information about the project.

Comment by Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft

It seems clear that low productivity — especially in comparison with the United States and Germany — has been an issue for the UK economy in recent years. We may now have the highest level of employment for years, but there has been no attendant rise in productivity.

What the UK now needs is better skills training of its workforce and more investment in transport infrastructure and technological equipment.

The Government appears willing to go down this road, so it is to be hoped that the Strathclyde “Hub” will make a significant practical contribution to this essential development.