Date of release: Thursday, November 15, 2018

Funding social care and childcare would free up the female workforce and boost the UK's lagging productivity, a new study has found.

The findings were part of a wider study looking at the effects of both gender and other inequalities on the economy, conducted by Professor Ozlem Onaran at the University of Greenwich and her team. The study looked at the impact of wages, investment and sales on the productivity of 24 sectors of the UK economy between 1970 and 2015.

The research also found that higher public investment in health, social care, education and childcare were linked to increased productivity across all sectors.

This is especially welcome news as research has shown a dip in productivity due to uncertainty around Brexit and its impact.[1]

Professor Ozlem Onaran said:

"Our preliminary findings indicate that if the Government invested more in health and social care, as well as in education and childcare, it would boost the productivity of our general workforce in two ways.

"Firstly, the availability of high-quality care provision for children and the elderly would allow women to choose to go back to work full time if they wanted, which would release a huge number of skilled women into the workforce.  Secondly, improving the quality of childcare and early years education would develop the cognitive and creative capacity of our children, increasing their future productivity."

"Our preliminary results show that a policy mix of higher wages, closing gender pay gaps and higher public spending would have a strong positive impact on growth, private investment, productivity and public finances in Britain."

The study was presented at the Economic and Social Research Council's 2018 Festival of Social Sciences.

More detail on Professor Onaran and her team's findings can be found here.