How do you solve the UK's productivity puzzle? Well, the retail sector is hoping that a former Morrisons exec and adviser to Ed Miliband might be able to at least help out that industry.
Ahead of the introduction of the new Living Wage, due to come into force in April, a new taskforce has been established to investigate how to end low pay and boost productivity in the retail sector.
From 1 April, the Living Wage means all workers over the age of 25 will earn a minimum of £7.20 an hour. Although many groups have warned that it could hurt their bottom line, others have seen this as an opportunity to enhance productivity. Indeed, a recent study found there was a high correlation between money fears and our productivity levels.
Chaired by Norman Pickavance, former director of HR and communications at Morrisons, the taskforce will consult with retailers, employees and industry experts over the coming year, before setting out a plan for how government and employers can boost productivity and pay in the sector.
Pickavance said: “The UK is currently struggling to catch up with other countries on productivity, and some sectors have become characterised by low waged, low skilled jobs. Yet across the country we are seeing innovative employers making changes to the way their businesses operate to ensure the workforce is better engaged, fairly rewarded and more productive.
“The retail industry is the UK’s biggest people industry, and we intend to find the best examples of innovative business practice that works for the employer and employee alike. We will also be clear about what government needs to do to support responsible businesses who want to boost pay and productivity.”