Global Competitiveness: good but room for improvement

The UK ranked no.9 World Economic Forum report. What can we do to become no.1?

09 September 2014 / Jump to comment (1)

The World Economic Forum revealed its "Global Competitiveness Report" last week and it was good news for the UK. We moved up from 10th to 9th place over last year - not bad out of 144 countries. However, we can do better.

The annual report ranks the wealth and productivity of a country, and shows how good its long-term economic policies are. But even though we may perceive ourselves as forward-thinking, we aren't beating the likes of Singapore, Japan, and The Netherlands.

So what's the secret for reaching the top?

It's about people

The highest-ranked countries invest in people, helping them gain the skills they need to make a difference now and in the future. And that requires close collaboration between employers and schools.

The Government also has an important role to play. It must continue to make skills a priority if we are to remain competitive.

One of the reasons that Switzerland ranked first was its dual vocational and education training system, which heavily promotes apprenticeships.

What impact does it have? Only 8% of Swiss youth are unemployed, compared to 16.9% in the UK. It's no wonder other countries want to copy this system. As the WEF said, it's an "effective remedy to the problem of youth unemployment."

We must do similarly - especially with young people's futures at risk.

It's not all about the youth

But what about developing people on the job? These days, there's no such thing as a job for life. Roles are evolving and people need new skills to meet the ever-changing needs of their employers. If they have the right skills they can add value to their businesses, which in turn benefits the wider economy.

As the economy strengthens, employers throughout the UK - and indeed the world - are investing more in developing their staff. But we need this to be business as usual if it is going to make a long-term impact on our global competitiveness.

The resources are out there to make this a reality - and thanks to technology, learning is not confined to only face-to-face. New learning technologies such as apps and online courses allow people to also learn whenever and wherever they want.

And it's a cost-effective approach. One of our customers saved £1 million in one year through e-learning, largely from not needing face-to-face trainers.

Onwards and upwards

As I said before, 9th place isn't anything to be ashamed of. And we should be doubly proud to see how we've improved over the past year.

However, we need to build on this momentum, and skilled employees are clearly the key to innovation and lasting prosperity. It's about developing the workforce of today and the workforce of tomorrow.

Comments 1 Comment

Yvette

05 November 2014

Great article for discussion. Good to know that we are ranking 9th, however, I believe to go beyond and not maintain this we need to truly investigate the miniscule pittance of the minimum wage, particularly for the unskilled who appear to be fairing much better on unemployment benefit/state handout. To reduce the drain on the state there needs to be a rise in minimum wage which will in turn change the mindset of generational benefit/state funding, which in turn will add to us rising to 4th-5th place by next year. Big leap but it is possible if people feel that they are not being taken for a ride. I wonder, maybe not for this discussion, but how much of that minimum wage is taxed? When individuals are attending academic training are they paid for that day or week?

On a lighter note with time and improvement I'm sure that apprenticeships will the most successful way to up skill individuals and improve Britain's workforce.

You could check and see what 1st-3rd place countries are doing to ensure that the systems they have in place can create a workforce for the future.

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