The gap between productivity in the UK and other members of the G7 is now wider than any other time since it was first recorded in 1991, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The figures showed that in 2014 productivity rose slightly across the developed economies of the G7. However, the UK is lagging behind and now sits 20 percentage points behind the average benchmark for these nations.
Despite this, overall productivity and output per hour did show very slight increases in the UK in 2014. But it came from a very low starting point and failed to keep up even with the modest increases in other member states.
The UK is 33% less productive than Germany, which tops the pile in 2014. However, it is 15% higher than last-placed country Japan.
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O2 business director Ben Dowd said the figures were “a stark reminder that fundamental changes need to be made to boost the UK’s productivity levels”.
“We simply can’t continue to fall so far behind our G7 counterparts. Yes, Government investment and the Bank of England’s measures will help in the longer term, but there are other more immediate steps that businesses should be taking right now to drive our productivity levels to where they should be,” he continued.
“Our research shows businesses recognise the potential of digital technology to boost cost efficiencies and help people work smarter, not harder.
“But less than half have integrated digital into their strategies. It doesn’t add up. Even the simplest of measures such as ensuring employees have access to devices at work can power time savings of a huge 9.4 million hours a week. These are efficiency gains we simply can’t afford to miss out on.”