Global growth is set to slow dramatically and only a concerted effort to increase industrial productivity can halt its deceleration, according to a report by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
The McKinsey Institute paper Global Growth: Can productivity save the day in an aging world? looks into the drivers of rapid GDP growth over the past 50 years. It finds that one of the two main drivers – employment growth – is slowing at an alarming rate, leaving increased productivity growth to pick up the slack.
The recommendations are focused on the G19, excluding the EU as a separate member, and Nigeria – collectively the states that account for 80% of the world’s GDP.
To achieve the necessary uplift in productivity the report suggests 10 “enablers of growth” must be in place. These include investing in physical infrastructure as well as opening economies to cross-border economic flows.
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The report also predicts that the global number of employees will peak by around 2050 – with all members of the G19 seeing a slowing of population growth across this time. It focuses on five areas where productivity can be increased by up to 4%. These are: agriculture, food processing, automotive, retail and healthcare.
It is claimed that to achieve this “challenging” target “all available means to boost productivity growth would need to be deployed”. This involves a significant shift in the way business owners, managers and even governments approach productivity in industry – making the results of tackling the issue more attractive with tangible financial rewards.
Other areas of the report explore whether recent drivers of growth will continue to be effective in the future. One such factor, technology, is “a bone of contention” among forecasters looking to predict growth cycles in the future, according to research.
“Technology has altered the path of growth in the past, but will it do so again? There is a wide disparity of views between those who believe that we are in the middle of a period of rapid technological innovation that will continue to push out the productivity frontier, and those who believe that technological change is running out of steam,” the report reads.
Further reading on international growth: Growth and exporting – Take your business to the next level