The productivity gap between the UK and other developed nations is undoubtedly one of the most troubling issues of our current economy.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated that UK workforces are 31% less productive than their US counterparts and 17% less productive than the rest of the G7 countries, despite the number of hours worked by Britons being similar to these other nations.

It is an issue that no organisation launching a science recruitment campaign should ignore - but what are five of the factors that are exerting the greatest influence on staff productivity?

1. Staff attitude

The people who you recruit to your organisation's science jobs need to have the right attitude, but all too often, employees do not enjoy their work and therefore spend more of their time watching the clock or thinking about the money than making a major contribution to their employers' fortunes.

Do your bit to improve employee attitudes by placing them in roles that play to their passions and strengths, in addition to formally recognising their achievements.

2. Ill health

Did you know that during 2014, sickness absence was an average of 2.8% of working time per annum, or 6.5 days per employee, costing employers an average of £16 billion?

Employee ill health is unquestionably a great drain on the productivity of UK workforces, with public sector organisations feeling the worst effects - a median of 3.5% of working time is lost due to sickness time in such organisations, compared to the 2.2% recorded for private sector firms.

3. Technology tools

It isn't just those organisations in more technical fields, such as information systems, that need to keep up to date with the latest technological developments that could benefit their employees' output.

Between 1995 and 2005, the IT revolution was found to be responsible for 0.6% of labour productivity growth and 1% of overall growth in Europe, the US and Japan, so you can rest assured that when your staffers are equipped with the right tools, they will get more done.

4. The 'higher ups'

Are you providing your workers with the supervision that they need to deliver the maximum productivity, not just answering their queries, but also encouraging, motivating and inspiring them, in addition to formally recognising and rewarding their achievements?

Unfortunately, all too many supervisors concentrate on the negative aspects of their employees' performances or don't keep promises to them, thereby eroding the respect that staff members have for them and therefore, their commitment to delivering the best work.

5. Downsizing and outsourcing

It may be tempting to save money by farming out more of your organisation's work to independent professionals or simply downsizing your company, but have you considered the effect that this has on existing staff members' morale?

If your current employees suspect that your firm is on a downward slide, their own focus can suffer as they contemplate their own position within the organisation and potential alternative career opportunities.

One of the most sure-fire employee productivity boosting measures will always be to simply recruit the best-suited individuals in the first place. Your organisation should therefore never underestimate the assistance that a leading science recruitment agency - such as Hyper Recruitment Solutions - can provide in your hunt for the best pharmaceutical, clinical and other science talent. 

The health of the broader UK economy is as much of a concern to those overseeing science recruitment campaigns as it is those in any other sector.

Thankfully, candidates hoping to land lucrative science jobs, as well as organisations seeking to match the right talent to their vacancies, will be heartened to read Britain's latest unemployment figures.

An encouraging last quarter

On the eve of Chancellor George Osborne's latest Budget, it was revealed that UK unemployment fell to 1.68 million between November and January 2016, a 28,000 drop from the previous quarter. It meant that the UK unemployment rate remained static at a decade-low 5.1%.

Among those to respond warmly to the news was UK economist at Capital Economics, Scott Bowman, who described the latest labour market figures as offering "a ray of sunshine" amid "global 'storm clouds'".

Potential applicants for science jobs in the East and North East regions of England may have reason to feel especially warmed by the figures, given the 15,000 decline in the number of unemployed people in the first of those regions and the 11,000 fall recorded for the latter.  

National Living Wage should do little to harm the statistics

We hadn't seen an all-Conservative Budget for more than 18 years when George Osborne delivered the new Government's first spending plan last July, its most eye-catching announcement the introduction of a new compulsory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for working people aged 25 and over.

With the National Living Wage having only been introduced this month, it's a little early to make an accurate assessment of its impact on unemployment, although the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimated that UK business should be more than capable of accommodating the additional expense.

Although the OBR forecast the direct loss of 60,000 jobs by 2020 as a consequence of the change, it added that almost one million other jobs would have been created by then to compensate. Many of them, we suspect, will be the chemistry, pharmacology, immunology and clinical roles that science recruitment agencies like Hyper Recruitment Solutions will be inevitably looking to fill in the months and years ahead.

Benefits continue to plummet

However, while low-paid workers were given an unexpectedly pleasant surprise in last summer's Budget in the form of the National Living Wage, some of them were also hit by tax credits now being limited to the first two children for new claims. Meanwhile, those aged between 18 and 21 were to be denied housing benefit altogether.

 As TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady pointed out, young people were particular losers in the first fully Conservative Budget of the 21st century, declaring that "it was all bad news as they will not get the minimum-wage boost and will suffer from cuts to higher education grants and housing benefit."

These will all be worries pressing on the minds of younger graduates seeking their first science jobs this year. However, contrary to O'Grady's verdict, there was some good news for them in the form of a lower unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year olds - 13.7% between November and January 2016, compared to the 16.2% recorded a year earlier.

Are you eager to find the perfect new science role for you in 2016, or could your organisation do with some assistance in filling its latest quality assurance, R&D and/or clinical research vacancies? Either way, simply get in touch with the science recruitment professionals at Hyper Recruitment Solutions today for the most appropriately tailored support. 

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