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'Magpie' firms could add more than £100 billion to the UK economy
'Magpie' firms could add more than £100 billion to the UK economy

‘Magpie’ firms could add more than £100 billion to the UK economy

A new report has encouraged more businesses to behave like “magpies” in order to inject more than £100 billion into the UK economy and reduce income inequality.

These are the findings from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), whose From ostrich to magpie research seeks to find solutions on how the productivity gap that exists in UK businesses can be addressed.

The research shows that by behaving like ‘magpies’ and learning about the technologies that are readily available, rather than like ‘ostriches’ – meaning those companies and businesses that are stuck in their ways – would bring drastic results in the reduction of inequality between a company’s productivity and the pay of its people.

Significantly, the research says that if firms behave change their behaviours, “business and government could move the needle on the UK’s sluggish productivity growth.

“If the UK’s least productive firms raised their productivity to their German equivalents, it would be worth over £100 billion to the UK economy.”

It echoes the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, who spoke at the CBI’s Annual Conference last week and urged companies to improve their innovation and productivity, to produce a more dynamic economy.

From ostrich to magpie also points out that those companies who don’t take up existing technologies can struggle to implement new skills or allocate finance for innovation.

As a result, the CBI is arguing that the government has to ensure that technologies can reach businesses through the new Industrial Strategy.

If this happens, companies will have better access to the likes of cloud, mobile technology, e-purchasing and cyber security.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, believes that by failing to notice the technologies already available, a “yawning gap” in productivity and pay is the result.

“The UK needs more ‘magpie’ firms with the skill and will to find and adopt tried and trusted technologies and management practices that best businesses showcase, and not get stuck in their ways.

“The impact could be a £100 billion+ uplift in the economy and a narrowing of income inequality by 5%.”

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