UK up a place in global competitiveness ratings

Posted on 3 Sep 2014 by The Manufacturer

The UK has moved up a place in the World Economic Forum’s international economic competitiveness ratings.

It moves up to ninth in the table, which the WEF credited to the country’s efficient labour market and high levels of financial development.

This is despite the WEF acknowledging difficulties in the UK’s banking system and the ongoing problems of businesses gaining access to loans.

The report ranked the UK second in uptake of information and communications technology, praising its openness to “highly sophisticated and innovative businesses” in adopting technology to improve workforce productivity.

The World Economic Forum global competitiveness top 10

1. Switzerland

2. Singapore

3. USA

4. Finland

5. Germany.

6. Japan

7. Hong Kong

8. The Netherlands

9. UK

10. Sweden

One area the UK was cited as needing improvement in is its education system, with subjects including mathematics and science highlighted as being crucial to future innovation.

Neil Pickering, director at international firm Kronos, told TM that the importance of technology as a productivity driver is crucial to benefiting the competitiveness of key UK sectors including manufacturing.

“As business starts to pick up, UK organisations are under more pressure to drive greater productivity in the workforce. So it’s no surprise that more are turning towards technology to make this happen,” he said.

“By adopting technology such as workforce management systems, organisations can automate and streamline manual tasks, reduce errors, and track and compare both budgeted hours with actual hours spent on performing tasks.

“This in-turn provides complete visibility over staff efficiency, utilisation and productivity, so businesses can understand where there’s waste and where there might be opportunities to improve.”

Switzerland remained top of the table, followed by Singapore, which also held its ranking from 2013.

They were followed by the USA, which rose two places after its fall from top spot during the financial downturn, Finland and Germany.

The top 10’s highest climber up three places was Japan in sixth, followed by Hong Kong, The Netherlands and the UK.

Sweden, which fell four places from sixth to tenth, rounded out the top 10.