The UK’s productivity puzzle

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(Image credit: Future / Unsplash - Mel Poole)

While the tech sector has suffered globally from a skills gap in recent years, the UK landscape in particular has come to be defined by roles unfilled, churn, and middling productivity.

The Office for National Statistics found that in 2021, the UK generated £46.92 per hour worked, versus £58.88 per hour worked in the United States. Across 2022, output across the UK remained flat.

Brain drain is also a serious issue, as workers who feel their skills are underused leave their firms for greener pastures. 

According to DocuSign’s 2023 Digital Maturity report, the average worker spends 11 hours per week on manual and repetitive tasks, and 26% of those planning to quit cited frustration with legacy work processes they are still made to follow.

In this episode, Jane and Rory are joined by Ronan Copeland, group VP and general manager EMEA at DocuSign, to explore productivity problems in more depth and offer some solutions.


“You can automate as much as you can or you can certainly use technology to remove most, if not all, of that drudge work. But I think another thing that really, we heard loud and clear is that most people want their company to be as digital savvy at work, as it were, as they are at home.”

“Technology like (artificial intelligence) is very much in its infancy and will have a big impact in society, I think that's probably very clear. We probably don't fully know what that impact will be just yet. So the ability and the importance of an employer to bring employees with them, to want to explain why we're making these changes and what the benefits will be both for the company, but also for you as the employee, that's an important communication piece that we need to get right in order to bring teams with us and make sure that they understand that this isn't necessarily going to replace my job.”

“What we see both through the survey, as well as through our day-to-day interactions with customers, is that a lot of organizations recognize investing in building their digital maturity and digitization as being a way in which they can bridge that productivity gap.”



Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at or on LinkedIn.