The Productivity Puzzle

It’s no secret that productivity in the UK is trailing far behind our rivals in Europe and the G7, with the average worker yielding far less output per hour worked than elsewhere in the developed world. Last year the government pledged to spend more on universities to help solve the problem, but is that really the answer when so many graduates end up in jobs they hate or are ill-suited to.

It’s common knowledge that when we do a job we love, we are happier, more fulfilled and motivated. We are driven to keep learning and are likely to make better leaders when we feel competent at what we do. How can all these benefits not in turn make us far more productive than if we merely settle for a job which brings in a pay check but leaves us unhappy?

If you are reading this and are already well into your career, are you guilty of taking the first graduate job which came your way without putting any thought into what you actually wanted to do? For those at university, do you have a really solid idea of what to do when you graduate or what you might be good at?

When it comes to making one of the most important decisions of your life, having good information is the key to choosing wisely. With somewhere between 600-1000 careers to choose from (depending on how narrowly you define them), how is a busy student or recent graduate ever going to find the time to explore all these options? Clearly it’s time for technology to lend a helping hand.

Big Wide World is an easy-to-use smartphone app which helps students sort through the overwhelming range of careers out there. A Tinder-style swiping format allows users to quickly explore a wide range of jobs which our AI and machine learning software believes would be a suitable match based on what we learn about your personality and your background.

The app lets you quickly get an idea not only for what a career is like, presenting information on the skills involved, salary ranges and typical responsibilities, but also to get a feel for the job you might end up in through interviews with people currently working in that field. If you find something you like, we’ll even put you in touch with employers and your university career service to best prepare you to land that dream job.

Getting back to sustained productivity growth is going to require businesses right across the economy to up their game, but maybe focussing at the beginning of the process when an eager young student prepares to join the workforce is really where we should be concentrating our efforts. Spending the time to make sure that a graduate ends up in a career they have an affinity for must be worth far more than bonuses, stock options or other costly incentives that executives think will produce passionate and productive employees.