Workers ‘underused and demotivated’ by lack of support

The underuse of skills in the UK is resulting in lost productivity both for businesses and the economy as a whole, argues a think tank.

The Work Foundation says that jobs at the lower end of the labour market too often provide little autonomy, progression or support, leaving workers feeling underused and demotivated.

Paul Sissons, report author and researcher at The Work Foundation says, ‘Skills under-utilisation can significantly affect the productivity of businesses and the wider economy, as well as impacting on the performance and progression of employees.

‘From an employer’s perspective, under-use of skills can be a waste of a valuable asset; it can result in a less motivated workforce which may also be less productive.’

A report by the organisation draws on case studies in the retail and hospitality sectors and asks experts from government, trade organisations, unions and other leaders in the field to give their opinions on why they think this is happening, as well as what they think should be done.

Sissons adds, ‘Ultimately the issue boils down to a need not just for more jobs but for better-designed jobs which encourage autonomy, responsibility, initiative and progression.’

The study urges policymakers to implement measures to begin tackling the problem. Among the chief recommendations is the implementation of measures aimed at promoting better job design.

It also recommends the establishment of a workplace innovation fund that could provide small-scale funding for skills utilisation projects and support for employers taking steps to address the issue.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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