70% of businesses benefit from paying the Living Wage

Last week was Living Wage Week, a national celebration of the Living Wage movement. In Brighton, we’ve made fantastic progress with our local Living Wage campaign, with over 300 businesses signed up since we started in 2012. The new Living Wage rate for 2016/17 has just been announced as £8.45 an hour.

In the lead-up to Living Wage Week, we thought we’d find out how the businesses that have signed up have found it. We wanted to know what impact paying the Living Wage has had on the businesses and their staff. 124 businesses responded to our survey.

The findings were overwhelmingly positive. 70% of businesses said the Living Wage had either a positive or very positive impact. 30% said it had no impact.

The key to ethical business

Paying the Living Wage is an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to paying their staff well, and can be a powerful statement of their values.

One business said:

“I already paid the Living Wage so the impact isn’t there. However, I joined because I wanted to make a commitment to my staff I would always continue to pay a good salary.”

Another said:

“Being a Living Wage employer is a key differentiator between us and our rivals.”

35% of businesses said that consumer awareness of their commitment to being an ethical employer increased when they joined the Living Wage.

Money talks?

It’s clear from our survey that paying the Living Wage can have wide-ranging effects on both staff and a business. Well-paid staff feel more valued, and tend to stay longer in their jobs. This has benefits for the business, with lower recruitment costs and higher productivity.

Of the businesses surveyed:

  • 56% said that staff morale improved.
  • 23% said that staff productivity and quality of work has improved.
  • 44% said that employee retention has improved.
  • 23% said they now spend less on recruitment.
  • 9% noticed that absenteeism has decreased.

But costs are a challenge for some

Some smaller and newer businesses found that paying the Living Wage meant they had less money for other things, like buying in new stock. This could have meant that they grew slower than they might otherwise have done. This is perhaps the biggest challenge that the Living Wage campaign faces: how can we make sure that smaller businesses and their staff can reap the benefits of the Living Wage without compromising their growth plans?

Are you interested in the Living Wage?

If your business isn’t yet part of the Living Wage campaign, we’d love to have you on board.

We’d also love to hear from you if you’re able to contribute ideas on how we can make it work for all Brighton and Hove businesses.

Contact us on 01273 719 097 or email Grace Evans: campaigns@businessinbrighton.org.uk.

Living Wage survey results 2016 jpeg

Thanks to Alice Cuninghame, Cuninghame Copywriting, for writing this blog for us. And to FDM Design for putting together the infographic.