Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder says while Barbados still faces challenges in terms of Government bureaucracy and access to finance, the most disturbing factor currently affecting its global competitiveness is a “poor work ethic” among Barbadians.
The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Competiveness Report placed Barbados at number 55 out of 144 countries, down from 47 in 2014 and 44 in 2013.
Holder said the downward trend pointed to a number of concerns that have been flagged for some time.
“The Global Competiveness Report 2015, 2014 and 2013, they all have been saying very similar things about Barbados. When you look at the top three reasons why we are not seen as a competitive state, it is because we have a problem with Government bureaucracy, we have a problem with access to finance, and thirdly, but most importantly, the report cited a poor work ethic,” Holder said during the recent Caribbean launch of the Global Business Roundtable at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
She therefore questioned: “How is it that we can boast of being highly literate, we can boast of having an educational system that is second to none, but yet we have a poor work ethic in our workforce?”
The business executive emphasized that while the island continued to produce some of the most brilliant people in the world, their attitude to work left much to be desired.
“We are producing a set of people with graduate and post-graduate degrees and with honours, [and] we are producing a set of people that when we look at their resume they can tell you about all of the intellectual training they have gone through and all of the degrees that they have amassed.
“But simple things like manners, simple things like respect, simple things like being able to have the kind of work behaviour, the kind of ethic that we would require in our workplaces are missing,” she stressed.
“That tells me that we have some introspection to do. It tells me that the church needs to be involved in helping to craft and to shape what that ethic ought to look like. It tells me that there has been a decline over time in the ethical fabric of our society and we have now seen a population of people who have been so motivated by amassing material things that we have neglected to pay attention to this ethic, to our morals, to our values,” the small business official lamented.