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CBI: Government & Bosses must Commit to Boosting Skills

Posted on March 29, 2016


Jermaine Haughton

Government must focus on providing more effective “ladders to higher-skilled, higher-paid work” to boost real wages for UK employees, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Upon today’s London launch of its new report A Better-Off Britain, CBI director-general John Cridland said that increasing productivity, competitiveness and training investment are key to raising pay in a sustainable and organic way.

“To ease pressure on families and people on low incomes,” he said, “we want immediate action, including cutting employee National Insurance and making childcare more affordable. Then we have to tackle the long-term issues. Higher productivity leads to better wages, so we must have a laser-like focus on boosting firms’ competitiveness. We also need to create better ladders to higher-skilled, higher-paid work and improve our education system for all, to overcome disadvantage. Business leaders need to step up to the plate, as well as politicians.”

One particular ladder that the CBI wants reinforced is that of available skills. With the breadth of skills required for middle-ranking roles growing dramatically over the past 20 years, it is estimated that half of all jobs need personnel to have at least a Level 4 Higher Education qualification.

As such, the organisation says, legislators, educators and businesses must focus on delivering more vocational routes that teach wider sets of abilities, as that will help more people gain the new middle skills they need. Equally, leaders must make a “board-level commitment” to helping employees with their career development, and incentivising line managers to make that a priority. Employers must also work with educational institutions to make sure courses are tailored to the demands of the economy, by rewarding them for specialisation and employment outcomes – not just attendance.

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