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6 ways the CBI believes businesses can make growth work for everyone

The economy continues to pick up and many businesses are gradually doing better too. Yet some people still feel left behind. Business and society’s fortunes depend on each other, so businesses have to ensure growth works for everyone. From school to retirement, here are 6 ways that the CBI would like to see more businesses helping to make growth work for everyone:


1. Starting in schools, ensure the doors to work are open to people from all backgrounds. Business has an important role to play in ensuring individuals from diverse backgrounds are inspired about the different career pathways available to them, and that they are supported to succeed. This needs to start at an early age – so there’s more to do as our own survey indicates only 31% of businesses had links with schools at primary level.


2. Create jobs, putting money in people’s pockets. UK business has a strong record of getting people into work and much of the growth in employment over the last year has been driven by people finding full-time work. This year 50% of businesses are expected to increase the size of their workforce. Government needs to create the conditions in which firms can continue to create jobs. Maintaining flexibility will help create such an environment.

3. From job advert onwards, challenge outdated perceptions of flexible working. Offering flexible working can help boost employee motivation, attract people to work, and better suit working families. Over 80% of businesses now allow work outside the office, but 42% of staff still say they would feel uncomfortable asking their boss about more flexible working. The onus should be on businesses to presume in favour wherever possible, challenge outdated assumptions and give their employees more confidence to ask about the options.


4. In the workplace, make the most of people’s skills and talent. Business is at its best when it is making the most of its people. Yet a third of workers are stuck in the bottom pay group after 14 years. Business leaders need to commit to helping people develop their careers and work with colleges and universities to build ladders to higher-skilled job opportunities with higher pay.

5. And help employees to work smarter – not harder. The value each worker adds in every hour he or she works (productivity) helps determine how fast our economy grows. It also determines what companies can afford to pay their staff. Closing the ‘productivity gap’ with the US in some sectors could boost annual earnings by 2.4%. Businesses need to take the lead by looking at how jobs are done, equipping people with the right skills and ensuring managers can manage well.


6. Towards the end of working lives, help people prepare for life after work. Over 90% of businesses believe there is a good case for providing a pension. In 2013, businesses contributed £24.5bn to pensions, 62% of the total contributions from firms and employees. However, not everyone understands how a pension can help support living standards in retirement. Businesses can be a source of information for their workers.


Is growth working for everyone? What more do you think businesses should be doing to help everyone feel the benefit of economic recovery?

Share your views @bizdebate or in the comments below.

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