The Government has been urged to introduce a £2.50 an hour training wage for internships lasting for three months or longer.
The idea was part of a number of measures suggested by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) aimed at boosting the UK's economic recovery.
The group's Blueprint for Growth also included extending the right to request flexible working for all employees and establishing mediation in employment tribunal claims.
John Philpott, chief economic adviser to the CIPD, said: "The Government wants to foster a strong private sector-led economic recovery but we have yet to see a coherent strategy for economic growth to sit alongside the Chancellor's very clear-cut approach to reducing the fiscal deficit.
"The coalition needs to show greater urgency in implementing measures to help boost the long-run supply side capacity of the UK economy, which must include efforts to boost productivity by improving the way in which businesses manage the people they employ.
"The Chancellor should also demonstrate a willingness to ensure there is sufficient demand in the economy to reduce the considerable unused capacity available at present, and if necessary revise the speed and scale of the planned fiscal squeeze.
"There needs to be a step-change in the UK's leadership and people management skills if we are to close productivity gaps with our international competitors."