Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


UK Productivity - why so low?

13 replies

SnowBells · 10/07/2015 19:31

OK, so I've always heard that UK productivity is low compared to other developed economies. But more recently, it has been in the news, like here.

The thing is that a lot of the reasons given in that article apply to other countries, too.

So, in your opinion, what's the reason for it all? I mean, is Britain just plain lazy? Shock

OP posts:

Summergarden · 10/07/2015 19:50

I remember watching the documentary 'make me a German' which studied this issue. The Germans are very committed and motivated during work hours, it's not acceptable to keep checking fb or make quick personal calls. They seem to have good apprentice schemes for trades IIRC too. The link to the documentary is here if you're interested.


OTheHugeManatee · 10/07/2015 19:52

It's to a significant extent because as a nation we don't make much stuff any more.


SnowBells · 10/07/2015 20:40

Hmm... that could be, Summergarden. Weirdly enough, my friends and colleagues in Germany work less hours as well! They're more focussed but it's more like short bursts.

OP posts:

YeOldTrout · 10/07/2015 20:52

do the French make more stuff than UK?


purplemurple1 · 10/07/2015 20:55

I'm in Sweden (from the UK) and I hear all the time 'we work more effectively so can work less hours' from what I've seen its bollocks its just their employer expects less, pays a living wage and accepts people have babies nad take holidays. So the economy is built on that work model.


ConferencePear · 10/07/2015 21:26

Lack of investment and poor management skills.


GingerCuddleMonster · 10/07/2015 21:34

underpaid, overworked, feelings of resentment, afraid to be sick because of absence policies, poor "middle management", the expectation women should pop out a baby and be back in work months later, dads only need 2 weeks, poor childcare provision, unsociable work hours, limited flexibility.....the list goes on

Basically British workers are unhappy and overstretched in most companies.


TalkinPeace · 10/07/2015 21:39

The UK has low productivity because it has low unemployment.

10 people working bloody hard are more productive than
15 people working vaguely hard

but if you sack those 5 and then the good times return, you might not get them back.

THe UK has a very flexible labour market so employers have chosen to hang on to people, not give them pay rises or overtime, but have them there - ready

France, as an example, is not permitted to do hours and wages freezes (much tighter labour laws) so people were let go and have not been re hired (as they are impossible to fire)

France has unemployment of over double (on same basis) as the UK

neither country has it right
but I cannot name a country that does


TeacupDrama · 10/07/2015 22:34

I think presenteeism rather than getting work done , if you are paid £100 to do 10 units in 5 hours you earn £20 an hour, however if you take 7.5 hours your hourly rate drops, costs to company increase as desk/ electric etc used for 50% longer so although there are still 10 units completed it is not as productive. So a culture of starting at 9 working till 1 and then again from 2-5, may well be more productive than arriving at 8.30 getting coffee chatting checking Facebook, texting or even mn. Then chatting at water cooler working through lunch and leaving late just to look dedicated because leaving on time looks like skiving

Depends on job I guess, this is why some jobs pay piece work rather than a salary


sanfairyanne · 10/07/2015 23:49

crap investment in equipment in the uk


YouTheCat · 10/07/2015 23:55

Too many organ grinders and not enough monkeys for a start.

We seem to have this weird obsession with managers and then hiring more managers to do the work the managers were hired to do because they are a bit crap and usually don't have the relevant ground level experience. An over reliance on people having degrees and looking the part instead of people being right for the job and being able to say the right thing (see Sainsbury's hiring system thread).


GiddyOnZackHunt · 10/07/2015 23:58

Poor industrial relationships
People knowing they are human resources.

Companies in Germany and Denmark have ordinary workers involved at board level. There is a sense of loyalty and purpose on both sides. You might be fitting the bumpers on a Polo production line one day and working with the board the next. Here it's all hierarchy and counting the pennies.


caroldecker · 11/07/2015 00:21

Many other countries, such as France, lie on the statistics. It is illegal to work more than 35 hours a week in France, so all companies put that as the hours worked - does not match the reality.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?