Poor management costs Britain billions

Sep 06 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Poor management means that British workers waste more than a third of their time at work, according to a new global productivity study.

"Managing for Mediocrity", by Proudfoot Consulting, claims that 87 out of the 235 days that UK workers spend at work are unproductive. Two-thirds of this wasted time is directly attributable to insufficient management planning and control and inadequate supervision.

Professor Nick Crafts of the London School of Economics has calculated that these four wasted months equate to the loss of £87bn annually, nearly £57bn of which is the result of poor management.

"Worryingly, poor management is therefore costing the economy the same as the Government's education budget," he said.

In the global productivity stakes, the UK's productivity rate of 63 per cent is a fraction behind the US and German rate of 64 per cent, but ahead of France's 60 per cent.

David Whitmore, Proudfoot's European president, said: "The general standard of management in Britain has undoubtedly improved in recent years.

"But the inescapable conclusion of our study is that there is still room for significant improvement if we want to become as productive and competitive as our major international competitors."

A survey carried out as part of the research also found that most senior executives admit that poor management is the biggest cause of lost productivity.

Apart from poor management, other barriers to productivity were ineffective communication (8 per cent in the UK, 9 per cent globally), poor working morale (14 per cent in the UK, 8 per cent globally), inappropriately qualified workforce (8 per cent in the UK and globally) and IT problems (6 per cent in the UK, 4 per cent globally).

On a sector-by-sector basis, telecommunications is most productive industry, with workers wasting a mere 61 days, or just under three working months.

Least productive is the food and beverage sector, whose staff waste 99 days Ė almost five months Ė closely followed by banking with 97 wasted days.