Scotland business

Index aims to boost productivity in Scotland

Business. government, and trade unions need to work together Image copyright PA
Image caption The index aims to identify good practice and improve productivity

A new index has been created to measure the productivity levels of Scottish businesses.

The first Scottish Productivity Index suggests some progress in productivity, but says that Scotland is "lagging behind" its competition.

The report will be published annually and will look at 15 key indicators.

It will track performance in four areas: business practices, skills and training, health and wellbeing and infrastructure and connectivity.

The index is being compiled by CBI Scotland and KPMG and contains a number of straightforward recommendations for government and businesses to approach together.

'Great people practices'

One of its main suggestions is that bosses are urged to treat mental health with the same priority as physical health, to boost productivity of the economy.

With evidence of Scotland falling behind on in-work training, it also recommends that everyone in the workforce should be given basic digital training by 2025.

It was proposed that a "Productivity Data Bank" should be compiled for Scotland to provide access to and improve productivity tracking data across the public and private sectors.

Image caption Productivity in Scotland is falling behind

And it said prioritising investment in management and leadership skills should ensure businesses were rooted in great people practices and building capabilities across the business.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: "We're proud to launch the first edition of the Scottish Productivity Index, something we think can bring fresh insights and urgency to the debate about how to get Scotland's economy firing once again. Brexit aside, boosting weak productivity has been the main focus of CBI Scotland's work over the past few years.

"While these findings show that Scotland starts some way behind when it comes to certain productivity measures, we also know that progress is being made. I'm confident that by benchmarking progress in this way, we can find solutions to deliver the step-change Scotland desperately needs."

'Vibrant, sustainable economy'

Jenny Stewart from KPMG said: "Amid growing geopolitical and economic uncertainty, improving productivity is fundamental to how much we earn; how fast our wages grow; and how much of a contribution every individual in Scotland pays in taxes to support good quality public services and a vibrant, sustainable economy.

"Tackling the productivity challenge could unlock thousands of pounds in higher annual earnings for the average worker and create a more competitive country that can thrive in the international marketplace.

"Our report highlights some of the challenges we face right now, but it also identifies a number of key, straightforward actions that we can all take to unlock future growth.

"Now, more than ever, we need to address productivity in Scotland, and build a more, successful, prosperous and inclusive nation."

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