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Productivity: Where are the Fruits of our Labour?

July 9th, 2015

Episode 302 of 676 episodes

Productivity is often seen as the holy grail of long-term economic success. So why has growth in productivity slowed in much of the rich, developed world, particularly in the UK? George Osborne, the UK's finance minister or chancellor, has unveiled plans this week aimed at boosting output per worker. We visit Pizza Express and speak to its chief executive officer Richard Hodgson about how small changes, such as getting chefs rather than waiters to chop the lemons, led to financial savings for the firm. Stian Westlake of the UK innovation charity NESTA explains how productivity is measured and whether the statistics accurately reflect what's happening in the economy. We also hear from British businessman Will Tyler, as he visits the German PVC window and door maker Aluplast, in Germany's Rhine Valley to find out why German workers produce on average 30% more per hour than their British counterparts. And Peter Fleming, Professor of Business and Society at Cass Business School, City University London, and author of The Mythology of Work, argues that while the UK may well be one of the fastest growing countries in the rich world, its sluggish productivity growth is down to the economy creating too many low-skilled, temporary jobs leading to a demoralised workforce with little incentive to work harder or better. Photo: chopped lemons; Credit: Photick/Rozenbaum & Cirou/Thinkstock

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