Two of the issues constantly on our minds are productivity and jobs. They are not easy issues to address, nor are there easy answers to them.
This month, we have seen the announcement of the new super government department – Business, Innovation and Employment – to be led by Steven Joyce which is bringing (supposedly) greater efficiencies for the business community and – unfortunately – job losses. I wouldn’t be a public servant for all the tea in China or Sri Lanka because your job is at someone else’s whim. How else can you describe the current situation?
When I asked how this refinement of government process – as with the addressing of the welfare beneficiaries situation – is beneficial and not monstering people to save money, I had some pretty decent feedback from business-related organisations.
This feedback ranged from ‘its about time government departments became more efficient’ to ‘stop- gap measures to save money can only be dressed up so far – where are the private sector jobs coming from?’
To ‘here we go again letting Australia pick up the slack for us by providing a place for people to continue to find work’.
And then there’s productivity. Input per worker or the amount of value that each of us adds to our daily toil.
Murray Sherwin, Chair Productivity Commission says that a country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise output per worker (see Page 12).
And if our GDP per person continues to decline per person then, naturally enough, this affects our standard of living.
From being a worldwide top performer in the 1950s New Zealand’s current GDP performance sees us at our around 26th in the world, sliding down the list of nations.
Murray Sherwin says that as our productivity and growth rate slides we could over time find ourselves less enamoured with this great little country of ours and what it can offer us.
So take a look around your business – you and your other managers and directors – and take in what you see. How is productivity going? Are you lacking trades people? Can you take on an apprentice?
Are you under achieving? Are you finding new markets for what you make?
Those questions hold some of the answers to better productivity, company development and growth. But you probably knew that anyway.