Power Up

The UK workplace

The UK economy has proven its resilience and ability to successfully navigate change many times throughout history. But we can’t take this for granted. It’s critical that we remain competitive, retain our strength in innovation, develop and attract the skills our economy needs and convert that to inclusive growth and prosperity for all.

Power Up - the UK workplace is the first report in Deloitte’s Power Up series which will explore the critical challenges facing UK government and business and offer pragmatic advice on competitiveness, innovation and inclusive growth. The report is based on a survey of non-British workers and wider research around the future of the UK workplace. It provides practical recommendations on what we can do to make a difference now, as well as be fit for the future ahead.

Survey of non-British workers

The UK’s diverse and multinational workforce plays a critical role in its economic evolution. To understand perceptions of the UK as a place to work and live we surveyed over 2,000 non-British workers, half based here and half outside the UK.

Key findings:

  • The UK is the most favoured global destination, ahead of the US, Australia and Canada - almost 9 out of 10 rank the UK as quite or highly attractive
  • Job opportunities and diversity are seen as key strengths of the UK
  • Brexit has shifted perceptions - for those based outside the UK, 21 per cent now find the UK less attractive, compared to 48 per cent for those based here
  • Overall, 36 per cent of non-British workers based here are considering leaving in the next five years
  • High-skilled EU workers are most likely to leave - 47 per cent over the next five years
  • There are regional and sectorial variances in the perceptions of workers – for example, in the Northern Powerhouse region 21 per cent are considering leaving, compared to 59 per cent in London
  • The UK could be faced with a potential skills shortage - high-skill workers are most mobile and therefore in the short term there is likely to be a greater pressure to fill these vacancies
  • There is a connection between the concentration of non-British workers in certain sectors and the likelihood of automation
  • The three sectors with the highest numbers of EU workers are among those with the greatest potential for automation

The Power Up series explores the critical challenges facing business, UK government and wider society.

Report recommendations

The report sets out four recommendations that are intended to provide practical steps that can be taken now to help shape the UK workplace for future prosperity.

  1. Create a new immigration system that recognises the personal choices of international talent
  2. Invest further to upskill both current and future workers
  3. Embrace digital and invest in the deployment of technology to automate repetitive tasks
  4. Work at a regional level to create an appropriate local response

It is crucial that policymakers, educators and businesses of all sizes come together to address the potential challenges and opportunities in the UK workplace, to raise proficiency in core skills and improve productivity.

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