ESRC calls for skills strategy in workplace

Government policies on skills and innovation will not create an economy capable of competing effectively in the global markets, according to a new report.

Robert Taylor, media fellow with the Economic and Social Research Council's Future of Work Programme, argues that only a more radical approach to workplace change will improve performance and raise labour productivity levels.

In High Road/Low Road - Skills and Innovation in Britain's Workplaces , he says: "The language of the government and industry about the importance of transforming the country into a high-skill information and knowledge economy may be inspirational, but the gap between its perceptions and the reality we face... remains very wide."

He says that no serious attempt has been made to relate the need to promote skills and innovation to the modernisation of companies and the way jobs are organised or restructured.

"Too much of the present approach remains top-down, ad hoc and fragmented.

It is over-managerial in its tone and substance and concerned primarily with the implementation of supply-side external labour market measures.

What is lacking is the development of a comprehensive skills and innovation strategy that is more in tune with the encouragement of workplace reorganisation and institutional change," Mr Taylor argues.

Peter Nolan, ESRC programme director, says that the emphasis on the production of low-skill and low-value products and services remains a powerful one.

"The barriers remain formidable to the construction of a vibrant, technologically advanced and knowledge-intensive workforce," Professor Nolan says.

The report says new forms of public intervention are required, including stronger support for businesses to provide high value-added goods and services through selective use of public-sector purchasing.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Featured Jobs

Head of Research Support Services UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
Learning Enhancement Manager UNIVERSITY OF DERBY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Universities to scale back liberal arts and social science courses

  • David Humphries illustration (24 September 2015)

A Russell Group tagline rap is further proof that we need to reform the academy’s approach, argues Philip Moriarty

  • World University Rankings

US continues to lose its grip as institutions in Europe up their game

  • World University Rankings 2015-2016 methodology

Change for the better: fuelled by more comprehensive data, the 2015-2016 rankings probe deeper than ever

Inspired by previous movement in 1960s, PhD students say that ‘science is not neutral’ and urge scientists to confront their assumptions