PROFESSOR David Spicer, Dean of the University of Salford Business School, lays out the challenges facing Greg Clark who was retained as Business Secretary in Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle this week.
PROFESSOR Spicer said: “These are the Priorities for UK PLC and the challenges facing the Business Secretary as I see them;
*We need to get the best Brexit deal for business going forward, that protects jobs and the economy as best it can, and the Business Secretary must play a key role for the next twelve months as we move towards a solution. We are dealing with lots of uncertainty in light of Brexit, what form of Brexit we will have and the implications of that for business.
*Productivity is a long term issue. Our productivity lags behind the rest of Europe and indeed much of the rest of the world. We consistently under-perform in that space. The key challenge is to improve the productivity of UK business. A major part of that is the skills gap. Sectors such as digital are struggling to recruit people with the right skill set. Support for business to develop those skills and close those gaps is essential. There is a key role for universities to play in that space too, supporting the skills agenda.
*Industry and business 4.0. We need an industry strategy which takes into account the next industrial revolution, driven by technology and AI and ensures that UK PLC is futureproof. There are jobs today that will no longer exist in 20 years time. Entire industries will cease to exist in the next few years. The ways in which business operates as a consequence of that is changing and will continue to change in ways that we don’t yet even understand. Building a flexible UK workforce that can meet the demands of changing business model has to be high on the agenda of the new secretary.
“The bottom line of all this is that we then get a growing economy and higher prosperity for all, which is in all out interests.”