Writing in the Guardian this morning John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, argues that the lack of basic skills displayed by many school leavers in the UK is not just a failing of the education system but also on the part of employers who don’t make the most of the skills their workers offer.
“Improved qualifications must be matched by better people management,” he says.
For businesses’ part, Mr Philpott argues that too many UK businesses compete on a basis of low-cost rather than high-quality products and services.
The Government’s policy of flooding the economy with highly qualified workers will not change this unless there is a fundamental shift in the way organisations manage and develop people. To make the most of available skills, organisations need to operate high-performance work practices, specifically team working, incentives and giving workers autonomy to choose how they perform tasks.
Until these practices are in place qualifications will have a limited impact on productivity.