PwC poll: skills and education key to industrial strategy

8 July 2024 | Muriel Cozier

‘Our research shows a strong appetite to create a shared vision and conditions for growth.’

Business leaders want to see education and skills at the heart of a UK industrial strategy, according to research conducted on behalf of PwC and released today. With 81% of UK business leaders questioned saying that an industrial strategy is essential for economic growth, 53% of those surveyed ranked skills education and talent in their ‘top three most important components for growth in their sector’.

Looking at business attitudes and priorities for achieving growth, PwC’s data is based on more than 60 one-to-one interviews with senior business leaders, policy bodies, and trade associations. The research also includes a quantitative survey of 1,200 businesses of all sizes, over half of which were SMEs.

The survey forms part of PwCs Framework for Growth report, which identifies the components business leaders believe would be most effective in breaking down the barriers to growth and productivity.

Compared to other G7 economies, the UK’s economic growth has been fairly flat since the pandemic and is struggling to return to its historical trend. PwC has calculated that a potential £650 billion uplift to UK GVA could be achieved by 2035 by improving the UK’s performance across skills and education, digital transformation infrastructure and planning. The highest priorities for the businesses surveyed – skills and education – would provide a £230 billion uplift, PwC estimates.

Quentin Cole, sponsoring partner of Framework for Growth at PwC said: ‘Our research shows a strong appetite to create a shared vision and conditions for growth. A successful industrial strategy will require continuous engagement and innovation to harness the UK’s industrial and sectoral strengths across its regions.’

Highlighting a need for a collaborative approach to industrial strategy; the PwC research also noted that 24% of business leaders felt that past governments had not listened to business when designing policies to promote economic growth. A need for building trust and engagement amongst businesses was seen as important for achieving certainty and longevity of an industrial strategy.

SCI has been a long-time advocate for an industrial strategy for the UK. The Manifesto for an Industrial Science and Innovation Strategy, launched in August last year, sets out a strategy that could generate an additional £230 billion in gross value added and create 240,000 jobs by 2030 in the life science and clean tech sectors alone.

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