UK tops Europe, US, in food, drink workforce productivity

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Europe

The UK ranks second behind Canada in the level of productivity of
its food, drink and tobacco products work force, but Austria,
Finland and the Netherlands are on the way to overtaking the
island, according to an international study.

The study covered 13 European countries, along with Canada, Japan, and the US and indicates that the workforce and management practices in the UK makes it a good place for locating manufacturingand for recruiting employees.

The study, by the UK's government-funded Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) also found that the fastest productivity growth rates in the food, drink and tobacco sectors are in Austria, Finlandand the Netherlands.

The SSDA says the high productivity growth rate in the three mainland European countries suggests they may overtake the UK soon. The UK's food and drink sectors were ranked seventh among the 16countries in productivity growth.

The project used sectoral total factor productivity (TFP) as a calculator, which is considered to be a more representative measure of underlying productivity than value-added or labourproductivity.

The measure removes the distorting effects of hours worked and capital inputs and as such more accurately reflects the skills of those employed in the sector and how those skills are mobilised.

TFP attempts to cover education, training, technical, organisational, management and other factors that lead to productivity growth.

The two highly significant results for the food, drink and tobacco sector are the positive linkage between both training and managers with the TFP levels, the SSDA stated.

"Overall, this suggests that internationally the combination of training and management generates higher levels of TFP in this sector,"​ the agency stated.

The UK's food and drink's workforce also rated above the international norm in high-level educational skills and in the amount of on-the-job training employees receive.

The sector was close to the norm in the use of information and communication technology and double the norm in the managers who had such skills.

Overall the study found that while the UK's productivity level falls below that of the average of the Group of Seven leading industrial countries, the country led in the manufacture of furniture,jewellery, musical instruments, toys and miscellaneous products and recycling.

The UK was second only to the US in TFP in the transport sector.

Related topics: Markets

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