Slow technology adoption linked to low productivity

Slow technology adoption linked to low productivity [Image: littlehenrabi via iStock]

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on more businesses to adopt “tried and tested technologies”, linking their use to higher productivity levels.

In a new report, entitled ‘From ostrich to magpie’, the CBI advises companies to act like “magpies” and chose the best technologies available, rather than “ostriches”, who it said are “more stuck in their ways”.

According to the CBI, the “low take up of readily available technologies and management practices is fuelling the deep-seated productivity problems the UK has faced in recent decades”.

The organisation said that differences in productivity between businesses results in variations in wages, opportunities and living standards for workers around the country.

Pointing out that the prime minister has challenged companies to invest more in innovation, the CBI called on the government to “build the ecosystem that will encourage greater investment and for British businesses to act and make the most of these opportunities”.

The CBI report revealed that if the UK’s least productive firms could boost their productivity to the level of their German equivalents, it would be worth over £100 billion to the UK economy.

According to the CBI, the government should prioritise diffusion, ensuring that technologies like cloud, cyber security and mobile technology can reach more businesses through the new Industrial Strategy.

The CBI found that the UK’s best performers are “highly innovative”, with the adoption of technologies leading to investment in more cutting-edge technology. However, it also found that although top-performing businesses are more competitive than those of many other nations, these companies only employ five per cent of the workforce.

It also found that the UK has a higher proportion of firms at the lower end of the productivity scale (69 per cent) than France (65 per cent) and Germany (60 per cent), which means they employ over two-thirds of the workforce.

In addition, in 2015, the number of UK firms adopting cloud computing was nearly 30 per cent below Europe's best performers.