CBI director-general John Cridland is calling on British business leaders to “get on planes” and sell their products and services around the world in an effort to ensure a balanced economic recovery.
In a New Year rallying call today, he will also ask businesses to ensure the recovery benefits employees as well as owners.
“The recovery is taking root, and business leaders have a spring in their step compared to this time last year – but this is no time to rest on our laurels,” he said.
“Businesses must support employees in every part of the country to move up the career ladder, while also giving a helping hand to young people taking their first tentative steps into the world of work.
“As the financial situation of many firms begins to turn a corner, one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is to deliver growth that will mean better pay and more opportunities for all their employees after a prolonged squeeze.”
However, he said the “flexible labour market” that had helped save jobs during the recession must be retained. Practices such as the use of zero hours contracts have come under fire from politicians.
Cridland added: “The major lesson from the financial crisis is that as a country we need to move away from an economy that was far too reliant on consumer and government debt.
As growth picks up we must make sure that it is well-balanced.
“In 2014, we do still need to see far more business leaders getting on planes to sell their products and services in new markets around the world. And as confidence continues to improve, we also need to see more companies reinvesting their profits in the UK.”
A preview of a “growth indicator” survey due to be launched by the CBI next month suggests the recovery is broad based and strengthening.
Cridland also focused on the need for more training and education.
He said: “The future of the UK economy is undoubtedly higher-value and higher-skill, so training is critical to helping people move onwards, and key to our national success, particularly when it comes to delivering an effective industrial strategy.
“We need to widen the gateways into higher-skilled work for far more people, including those already working, or those for whom a degree may not be the best option.”