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CBI calls for the UK’s economic future to be an inclusive one

Could the UK be known for diversity and inclusion?

Allie Nawrat

Credit: Adam Kuylenstierna via Twenty20.

Unleash Your Curiosity Diversity and inclusion, employee wellbeing and innovation are central to the UK’s economic growth, according to the CBI.

  • The UK’s CBI has launched a campaign that calls on the government to seize the moment to transform the British economy for the better.
  • There are a few future of work elements of this campaign, including fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace and upskilling the British public.
  • But what are the best ways to achieve these aims?

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), a non-profit representing the British business sector, is calling on the UK government to use Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to focus on transforming the UK economy over the next ten years.

In its latest report and campaign – which is titled Seize the Moment – the CBI lays out six business led opportunities it believes the UK needs to focus on over the next decade as they could be worth around £700bn.

A few of these opportunities relate closely to the future of work. These include building an innovative economy where breakthrough technology is adopted by all, fostering an inclusive economy “where work enables all talent to progress” and marrying wellbeing and economic growth.

CBI director-general Tony Danker commented: “Transforming our economy also means now transforming the relationship between employer and employee. Work is a place where people get in and on in life.

“Get jobs, better ones after, skills to succeed, resilience and job satisfaction.

“I say to employers everywhere – we did the right things in the crisis. Bottle that. Let it be one of the positive legacies of the past year.”

Deep dive into CBI’s report

As well as seeing the UK’s potential to champion of green growth and become a scientific superpower, the CBI’s vision for the UK’s economic future includes the country to become known for diversity and inclusion. This will create a situation “where everyone can bring their authentic self to work, irrespective of background, age, gender, sexuality, race or disability”.

[Read more: More than a tick box: How to create genuinely trans-inclusive workplaces]

The CBI also envisions a future where “companies will have stronger bonds with employees, providing meaningful work and a focus on wellbeing.”

CBI argues that if businesses focus on the health and wellbeing of their staff that will lead to a $180bn uplift in gross value added (GVA) by 2030. While social mobility – including access to better educational and employment opportunities – could add £139bn to GVA over the next ten years.

So how can the government and UK businesses seize the moment in terms of inclusion?

Since diverse organizations are known to do better financially, the CBI notes that it is important that businesses focus on achieving greater racial diversity at all levels of business – and particularly on boards and in senior leadership teams.

To support this, the CBI is calling on the government to maintain momentum on gender diversity in the workplace and encourage ethnicity pay reporting.

Spotlight on skills

As part of this commitment to equity and inclusivity, the CBI has zeroed in on the importance of updating the UK’s approach to skills.

The organization argues that closing the existing skills gaps in the UK economy could lead to a £150bn increase in GVA over the next decade.

While the CBI supported the government’s recent commitment to upskilling in the Queen’s speech, it notes that the the updating of the skills needs to be demand-led and there is a particular urgency to tackling the UK’s digital skills gap.

As part of this, the CBI calls on the government to replace the Apprenticeship Levy and replace it with a so-called ‘Learning for Life’ skills levy that helps support companies in reskilling and upskilling their workforce.

In addition, according to the CBI, the government needs to work to help workers better understand retraining opportunities available to them.

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