Four inter-related puzzles characterise trends and patterns of human capital and productivity in the UK: i) high skill demand lags behind high skill supply; ii) real wages are not keeping up with the higher skill supply; iii) the assumed skill bias of new technologies is uneven and possibly even absent; and iv) multiple organisational factors make the skill-innovation-productivity equation highly contingent and uncertain (for further details, see link to TPI Working Paper Grimshaw and Miozzo).
To address these puzzles and to address the UK policy goal of building and sustaining a high skill workforce amidst global challenges of digitalisation and sustainability, new inter-disciplinary thinking is required beyond a narrow economics frame. There is much to be learned from studies of innovation and employment, especially their close attention to institutions and the interplay of sectoral and organisational dynamics.
The problem of intersectional labour market inequalities, a key feature of the UK labour market, also needs to be central to our research, as does a concern to understand the benefits of decent work and collective worker voice for responsible innovation and sustainable productivity growth.
Professor Damian Grimshaw
Professor Mary O’Mahony
Dr Simone Schnall Reader in Experimental Social Psychology, Fellow and Director of Studies in Psychology, University of Cambridge
Dr August De Coulon
Professor Eugenio Proto Cairncross Chair in Applied Economics and Econometrics, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Professor Jill Rubery
Phil Brown (University of Cardiff)
Davide Consoli (Polytechnic University of Valencia)
Martin Fleming (Varicent Fellow)
Ewart Keep (University of Oxford)
Hsing-fen Lee (Royal Holloway University)
Sandra McNally (University of Surrey)
Marcela Miozzo, Augustin De Coulon, Paul Lewis, Mary O’Mahony, Damian Grimshaw (King’s College London)
Eugenio Proto (Glasgow University)
Anthony Rafferty, Jill Rubery (University of Manchester)
Uma Rani (International Labour Organisation)
Simone Schnall (University of Cambridge)
Chris Warhurst (University of Warwick)
Human capital and productivity: a call for new interdisciplinary research