24 November 2017


From ostrich to magpie

New CBI research sets out how the UK can tackle the striking variation in productivity that exists between UK firms to boost economic growth and improve living standards. 

From ostrich to magpie

New CBI research shows that low take up of readily available technologies and management practices is fuelling the deep-seated productivity problems the UK has faced in recent decades.

In its new report, From ostrich to magpie, the CBI found that improved uptake of tried-and-tested technologies and management practices could improve UK productivity and reduce income inequality. 

Read the CBI’s From ostrich to magpie report

While the UK has some of the world’s most productive firms, with the best-performers proving to be highly innovative, the UK also has an unusually long tail of low-productivity companies . This matters because in nations where there are big differences between companies’ productivity, there are also high levels of income inequality.

While there is no one solution for improving firm-level productivity, increased use of proven technologies and management practices offers some low-hanging fruit. In the report, the CBI argues that the UK needs more ‘magpie’ firms with the skill and the will to find and adopt tried and trusted technologies and management practices that the best businesses showcase, and not get stuck in their ways.

One of the report’s key findings shows that if the UK’s least productive firms raised their productivity to their German equivalents, it could be worth over £100bn to the UK economy and a narrowing of income inequality by 5%. That would mean more opportunities for people and communities in every corner of the country

To help capitalise on this opportunity, the CBI is urging government to work with business to lead a long-term change in the UK’s adoption of technology and management best practice. This must include action through a joint campaign on the five technologies every company could adopt in partnership with BEIS and the Be the Business Movement.

For more information please contact Felicity.Burch@cbi.org.uk