Most employers that have gained living wage accreditation are reaping the rewards in terms of recruitment and reputation, according to new research.
The study, carried out by Cardiff Business School, found that nearly all (94%) organisations that have signed up have benefited from doing so.
The Living Wage Foundation, which is marking 20 years of the accreditation, revealed that 13,000 businesses are now paying the real living wage. Of these, the research showed that nearly nine in 10 (87%) believe that paying the rate improved its reputation, while two-thirds (66%) think it differentiates the employer from others in the same sector.
A similar number (64%) of those surveyed believe paying a real living wage enhanced relationships between employees and managers, while 62% think it has helped in recruiting staff and 60% say it has boosted retention.
Dr David Nash, reader in employment relations at Cardiff Business School, said: “Our research shows that employers benefit in a range of ways from signing up to the real living wage. These include strengthening organisational reputation, making it easier to recruit and retain employees and improving staff relations and motivation. Taken together our findings help explain why record numbers of organisations are committing to pay their staff a living wage.”
According to The Living Wage Foundation, 8,000 of living wage employers joined the movement after the pandemic began, with 1,500 doing so since the start of 2022.
The living wage, which is £10.90 per hour outside London and £11.95 in the capital, is paid voluntarily to employees, as well as third-party workers such as caterers, cleaners and security staff. The Foundation says the move provides “a vital cost-of-living pay boost to thousands of workers, as record price rises have pushed millions into financial hardship”.
Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, commented: “We are delighted to have reached 13,000 accredited living wage employers across the UK who are committed to making sure that everyone who works for them, including contracted staff like cleaners and security guards, earn a wage that meets the cost of living.
“As households across the country grapple with the biggest income squeeze in a generation, a real Living Wage has never been more important for workers. This research from Cardiff Business School makes clear that rewarding staff with a wage that can make ends meet is not only good for workers; it’s good for businesses too.”
Molton Brown and The Perfume Shop were the latest employers to gain living wage accreditation, on 29 and 30 June 2023 respectively.
Carrie Harris, director of HR, Molton Brown at Kao, added: “We are proud to be officially accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. At Kao and Molton Brown, we put our people first. Ensuring that they feel motivated and supported is very important to us. Implementing the real living wage was about doing the right thing for our people, especially in the current economic climate, but we believe that it is also the right thing for broader society.”