UK productivity has lagged behind the rest of the G7 for a decade, impacting everything from competitiveness through to living standards. But with unemployment at its lowest since the 1970s, it’s clear that simply creating jobs isn’t enough; work must be fair, provide opportunities and give people a voice on the issues that matter. All backed by a flexible labour market that benefits both employers and employees.
Fierce competition for talent and flatlining productivity are threatening the competitiveness of the UK labour market. That’s why we are calling on business and government to work together to put good work at the top of the UK’s agenda.
Government must retain the flexibility of the UK labour market that workers want and businesses need
Businesses should lead the way by adopting great people practices, from leadership through to engagement
Government and business must deliver a labour market where workers can uphold their rights and firms can operate on a level playing field
The UK’s labour market is historically one of its greatest strengths. But the way we work – and what work means to people – is changing.
To ensure the UK continues to be a great place to employ people and be employed, we must create a fair and flexible labour market that benefits everyone. It’s important that UK legislation keeps up, and that workers have clear rights and the ability to enforce them. But good work goes beyond the bare minimum – people must feel that there is fairness and transparency in their work and in the system.
Good work also means workplaces where people can give their best. The way firms attract, lead, engage and develop their people enables them to flourish. Get this right, and we estimate a £110bn boost to the UK economy. Treating employees well can also improve business reputation, which is vital as only 56% of the public think that business’ reputation is good.
Many companies are taking action, but progress is needed to make people issues a leadership priority, and staff engagement a measure of success. Joint business and government efforts can build the fair and flexible labour market that keeps the UK competitive. The future of work isn’t waiting for anyone – now is the time to act.
"It’s no secret that UK productivity has been stubbornly flat since the financial crisis. If we want to breathe new life into the economy, then investing time, effort and resource in people is a great opportunity for business."Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General
People are an organisation’s greatest source of value. And the organisations that enable people to give their best perform better – the business case is clear.
could be added to the economy by improving the average quality of people management in UK firms by 7%
of UK firms believe that a flexible workforce is vital or important to business investment and job creation
more profit is made by firms with the highest levels of employee engagement
The case for a fair and flexible labour market and better people practices in UK workplaces isn’t just about the numbers. It’s about your people; and the real ways in which feeling that their work is fair and that people issues are a priority can transform their day-to-day experience of work. Good work makes a difference to individuals, business and wider society.
The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.
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Join the CBI
Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK.
Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to make the UK the best place to employ and be employed by championing good work.
Have your say
Has your business changed its people practices to boost productivity? We’re looking for inspiring firms that have changed their leadership, management, and working practices to uncover practical insights that make a difference.Get involved
Make a difference
This campaign is led by the CBI's People & Skills team.
Contact Matthew Percival, Director of People and Skills, to find out about the change UK business urgently needs and how you can support it.