The Scottish economy could generate hundreds of millions of additional pounds if the average worker’s sickness rate was cut by one day per year, a study has suggested.
Billions of pounds could be made if three “core” issues were tackled – productivity, sickness and export growth, according to new research from business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The company said it has launched a nationwide campaign called Vibrant Economy aiming to explore how the UK can accelerate economic progress, social good and opportunity for businesses, cities, people and communities.
It has released research showing more than 12 million days were lost due to sickness in Scotland in 2013, with the average worker taking five days a year off because of illness.
Grant Thornton’s research suggests the Scottish economy could generate almost £390 million extra by 2020 if that was reduced by just one day per year, in line with the average absence rate in London.
By 2025, the reduction in losses would rise to almost £800 million, it said.
Working alongside the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the study also looked at the country’s export outlook and productivity levels in the workforce.
Kevin Engel, managing partner of Grant Thornton in Scotland, said: “Scotland’s economy has been pretty resilient in the face of global uncertainty but much of the growth sits on fairly shaky ground.
“The data suggests there is a clear imbalance between London and everywhere else, and while Scotland performs far better than most other regions, there is still much to do to rebalance our economy with the British capital.
“We need to build on our positive employment figures and increasing exports. With no short-term end in sight for the oil and gas downturn, there’s no time like the present for business and government leaders to come together and collaborate to stimulate long term, sustainable growth.
“Scotland’s economy is rich and varied. Our workforce is relatively young, well-educated and globally-focused. We need to tap into that talent and drive and reshape the country into a truly vibrant economy that unlocks our full potential.”