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Strongly led firms are the productivity winners

The strength of management practices in foreign-owned firms operating in the UK is demonstrating the impact this can have on overall business productivity, new research shows.

Be the Business – the new campaign organisation formed to tackle the UK’s longstanding productivity challenge – has responded to latest ONS figures showing productivity increased by 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2017. It is calling on firms to redouble their efforts to raise their long-term performance or risk remaining stubbornly behind European competitors.

An accompanying ONS survey responded to by around 8,000 firms, published at the same time, found a strong correlation between management practices and productivity. It showed that foreign-owned firms had significantly higher management scores than domestic businesses.

Commenting on today’s ONS productivity figures and the Management and Expectations Survey (MES), Tony Danker, chief executive at Be the Business, said: “While positive, the UK’s productivity growth at the end of 2017, still leaves us lagging behind our international competitors. The UK has some of the most productive businesses in the world, but we also have a large number of firms that could be run much better.

“The strength of management practices in foreign owned firms operating in the UK shows the centrality of world class leadership and management practices to driving up productivity.

“While business owners cannot control the macroeconomic picture, they can control what goes on in the four walls of their businesses. With less than a year to go until we leave the EU, it is critical that our firms are match fit to compete on a global stage.

“Business leaders should take today’s news as a clarion call to take a fresh look at what the UK’s most productive firms are doing, including introducing best in class management practices and productivity enhancing tech, and embed this in their own businesses. Without this, the UK’s productivity figures will slide back to the substandard levels we’ve seen for most of the past decade.”

Notes to editors:

Be the Business is the new business-led organisation created to close the UK’s productivity gap. Chaired by Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Be the Business is spearheading a business-led drive to help companies across the UK improve their performance.

It is supported by some of the UK’s most senior business leaders including Tera Allas (McKinsey & Co), Olly Benzecry (Accenture), Sir Roger Carr (BAE Systems), Roger Connor (GSK), Ian Davis (Rolls-Royce), Carolyn Fairbairn (CBI), Doug Gurr (Amazon), Dame Fiona Kendrick (Nestle), Sir Richard Lambert (British Museum), Prof Juergen Maier (Siemens UK), Sir Charlie Mayfield (John Lewis Partnership), Gavin Patterson (BT Group), Phil Smith (Cisco), James Stewart (KPMG), Steve Varley (EY) and Nigel Whitehead (BAE Systems).

ONS Management and Expectations Survey:

https://bit.ly/2Iu0LvK

ONS Labour Productivity Statistics: October to December 2017:

https://bit.ly/2uRexXl

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