Why is it important?
Improving productivity is necessarily a long-term focus. Scottish productivity hasn’t shifted for decades and we don’t expect drastic changes in the near-term. But even incremental improvements will create a significant bounce in company margins and public finances.
An advanced economy like Scotland will have limited scope to significantly grow the population, so boosting productivity will be the key route to achieve more sustainable growth.
So, the continued focus on productivity is the right one, however, the question remains how to pinpoint the most effective actions to change it.
What is the Scottish Productivity Index?
The Scottish Productivity Index was launched in September 2019 to determine the impact and effectiveness of productivity enhancing measures, with a view to understanding ‘what works’ in addressing the weak levels of productivity growth that have dogged the Scottish economy for decades.
The aim of the index was to break down the concept of “productivity” into more meaningful measurements and actions – from the perspective of the private sector. That’s why it sets out a range of recommendations focused on how companies themselves can ‘up their game’ when it comes to productivity and how government can support them. A vital area of action is improving how data can help direct evidence-based ways to continually improve Scottish productivity.
The 15 indicators of Scottish productivity are relevant for the whole of the economy and some of the recommendations will also be useful for the public sector. The dashboard of indicators is drawn from familiar areas and publicly available statistics.
This is the start of an annual tracking exercise where the dashboard is one part. The other is the report with qualitative insights from our business advisory group, case studies and the broader CBI membership.
CBI Scotland has received support for this approach from both government and business. The case studies have been particularly welcomed and we will continue collecting examples of how Scottish businesses are shifting their own productivity.