The Brief

Good work has a vital role in supporting our personal, community and societal wellbeing. Meanwhile, the UK performs poorly on productivity. Despite working longer hours, we produce less in five days than workers in Germany produce in four. There are many views on the productivity gap and how it can be resolved to help improve living standards in the UK. But less examined and debated is the role of good quality jobs, and what specific aspects of these can make workers more productive.

If solving the UK’s productivity puzzle is one the big challenges is facing our economy, then we need to understand and demonstrate why good work has a central role in meeting this challenge. What impact do issues such as pay, job security, use of skills, and relationships with line management and colleagues have on productivity at firm level? How can policy and management practices support good jobs and higher productivity?

The Carnegie UK Trust and the RSA have working together on a new project examining the links, trade offs, and routes to boosting good jobs and higher productivity.

  • We commissioned new research and analysis into job quality and productivity from our academic partners, the Warwick Institute for Employment Research.
  • We held ‘Employer Dialogues’ and visited workplaces to understand how decisions about quality of work and productivity were playing out in workplaces.
  • We convened an Expert Group, chaired by Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA, to critically review and bring different insights to our research findings.
  • We published a collection of essays, setting out how a focus on good work can boost good jobs and improve workplace productivity. The essays bring together new research, opinion and analysis from nearly 20 key representatives of business, policy, trade unions and civil society from across the UK. Contributors include Andy Haldane, Chair of the UK industrial Strategy Council, and representatives from the TUC, CBI, IPPR North, Resolution Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Be the Business, and Investors in People.

Read the essay collection, Can Good Work Solve the Productivity Puzzle?

Watch the launch event video Can Good Work Solve our Productivity Puzzle?

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