Wednesday 21 September 2011

Global International Competitiveness

Here is a nice picture from a new report by BDO. It shows the top destinations in the world for investment, as ranked by CFO's of companies looking to expand. As expected, it is full of the stereotypes we have come to expect - Russia has cultural differences (mafia government), India has ethical issues (child labour), the UK has intense local market conditions (recession).

It is interesting to note though that somehow the UK manages to beat Russia and Brazil - so half the BRIC's and also comes in slightly ahead of France (although this reminds me of my train company this year hitting 80.003% service to magically avoid having to refund any of my tickets) - perhaps this report was not written in Paris. The US of course still does very well given the size and power of its market - again, interesting when there is so much current negativity around the US and its economy. Saudi, the Middle Eastern representative, still comes out last. From analysis like this I can see the Middle East falling behind like Africa as soon as the oil money is exhausted and looted by the current despots.


Electro-Kevin said...

It depends what you mean by 'competitive'.

The race through the doors of the Ikea sales seems to be HIGHLY competitive in GB.

Though Britain isn't the place it used to be in terms of manners.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Britain really isn't a good place to start a business these days. Apart from the usual whinges about regulatory burden & taxation, the basic attitude of officialdom (especially at the local council level, and perversely, especially in the poorest areas which need investment the most) is one of utter hostility. The parasite class views entrepreneurs as putative thieves who need to be kept in check. I compare with the authorities in Malaysia, Singapore, China & Brazil and it is enough to make you weep.

Leaving all that aside the UK is a low growth area with not enough skilled engineers, technicians & scientists. I don't need to employ yet another social studies graduate with a 2:1 in sociology from Wembley Secondary Modern (er, Uni of NW London) who thinks I owe him a living, spends all day on f***ing Facebook and weeps when bollocked for incompetence.

Old BE said...

Britain is stuffed in the short term but everyone knows that we have the wherewithal to sort ourselves out. Even more so, the US is in a mess but it is still a huge and flexible place to do business.

The problem with measuring emerging economies is that because of their relative newness to the international game who knows what political or economic shocks they might present at a moment's notice. Remember that Argentina was once the world's fourth-largest economy!

Budgie said...

Sebastian Weetabix: "... the UK is a low growth area with not enough skilled engineers, technicians & scientists."

NO no no, aarrghhh. The UK may be a low growth area but the putative claim of "not enough engineers, technicians, scientists" is propaganda, bullshit and wrong. (Sorry).

I know this at a personal level. But if you are not willing to take my word for it, consider: over a million jobs were lost in manufacturing under Labour. Some of those people were "engineers, technicians, scientists".

Where have they all gone? Well, into greengrocery, window fitting, teaching, pharmacy, rental property, etc to my personal knowledge. Why? Because there were not enough damn jobs in engineering and science, that's why.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Budgie, with the greatest respect - and I mean it in the kindest possible sense - you are utterly, utterly wrong. I don't need to take your word for it because I actually employ people, rather than simply have opinions on the subject. I often attempt to recruit SKILLED chemists (mostly PhD level) and manufacturing engineers (C.Eng types with decent mathematical abilities who can do sophisticated stats analysis, inter alia). I cannot find any in this country. We recently advertised a Mfg Eng post with a 70K salary - not exactly sweat shop wages. There were precisely 8 applicants and none of them were up to scratch. As it is we filled the post by bringing a P.E. in from our facility in the USA on an expat contract.

There IS a dearth of skilled people in this country. Anyone running an actual business making things will be able to relate similar woes, believe me. The million jobs lost you refer to were mostly low end. For example, many of our customers in the electronics business moved their production offshore in the last 15 years. The production line jobs went with it (as did ours) - but design, specifying, prototyping and scale up work continues. And for those tasks it is very hard to find skilled people; finding people who can carry heavy things across level ground under supervision or jumped up bodge artists claiming to be engineers* is not a problem.

[*An example to entertain any geeks among the audience: wanting to add a vacuum step to a mixing process, we had a chap who thought that instead of one calibrated gauge with a proper preventative maintenance regime we should have 2 gauges "in case one of them goes wrong". Aaaargh. I suspect he is now green-grocering or whatever. He certainly doesn't work for us.]

Old BE said...

I am multi-talented but nobody would pay me £70k :-(

Budgie said...

Sebastian Weetabix: "Anyone running an actual business making things will be able to relate similar woes, believe me." No, I don't.

SW: "The million jobs lost you refer to were mostly low end." Who said they weren't? They will be the usual mix in manufacturing from labourers to top quality engineers and scientists. At whatever level, even from dying industries, they could easily be re-trained because the respective skill sets are similar.

Clearly you, and people like you, are doing something wrong. Can't get the staff? Perhaps it's the years of low pay, low status, repeated redundancies? Or perhaps it's the arrogant hire and fire when you want that does it?

Anyone with get up and go has got up and gone out of industry. So don't sneer at the green grocer or the pharmascist. SW - it is you who are "utterly, utterly wrong".

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Show me a green grocer on 70k.

CityUnslicker said...

Philip Green?

Budgie said...

SW said: "Show me a green grocer on 70k." It is precisely that sort of sneering, one sided, limited example that shows the paucity of your case.

You know perfectly well that most graduates in IT and engineering (and probably scientists as well) are on considerably less than £70k. Why even my fatuous Institution's salary survey has graduates on £19k 'rising' to just over £30k at Chartered level (2009 figures).

I know dozens of people from skilled craftsmen to Chartered engineers who have got out of, or who want to get out of industry. You seriously need to stop whinging and look at your own attitude to the 'hired help'.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Budgie: "Anyone with get up and go has got up and gone out of industry" - I do enjoy a bit of a barney.

Industry takes stuff & turns it into things. We take money from foreigners and improve the balance of payments. As a country we still punch above our weight in advanced materials, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, instrumentation and so on despite over 30 years of malign stupid industrial policy from both red & blue parties who seem to look down on "trade". Industry will eventually drag this country out of the shit that the finance industry & the government have managed to put us in. Industry - amazingly - can even be creative & exciting at times.

The only arrogance I see is yours. You know fuck all about my business or my hiring/firing practices. It so happens we train apprentices and sponsor a few through Uni & MBAs - not as many as I would like, but we do what we can - we spend about 3% of our net sales on training & education & 8% on R&D. And our regrettable turnover is sub 1%. So perhaps I am not an arrogant hiring & firing c**t. We do not run a sweat shop and we reward people well. But incompetent people who do not respond to training & education go because in the end they will kill the business.

And Philip Green is a grocer in the sense that Conrad Hilton was a hotelier - come to think of it, isn't Philip Green rag trade? Lovely people grocers, and purveyors of schmutter, and we need them. But we also need engineers & scientists capable of really high end work & as someone who seeks them out, there aren't enough.