New Poll Shows That More Than 85% of People Think Employers That Can Afford To Pay the Living Wage Should Do So

13 April 2015

  • 75 percent of people think employers should be required to reveal whether they are Living Wage payers
  • Improved employee morale would be main benefit of paying the Living Wage
  • Poll indicates more than half of the population are more likely to use goods & services of Living Wage employers
  • Three quarters of people think the national minimum apprentice wage should be higher

A new poll commissioned by Nationwide Building Society shows people think employers should pay the Living Wage if they can afford to do so.

The poll, which coincides with the first year anniversary of Nationwide becoming a Living Wage employer, shows that people feel it is morally the right thing to do and it would benefit employees’ happiness and wellbeing. The survey also shows that it would increase productivity and employee morale.

Last year Nationwide became the first major high street name to sign up as a Principal Partner of the Living Wage Foundation which is a commitment to help encourage other firms sign up to the scheme. The decision means the building society is paying its employees, as well as contractors and apprentices an hourly wage of at least £7.85 or £9.15 in London. This compares to the current UK minimum wage of £6.50.

Since becoming a Living Wage employer last year more than 800 employees and agency workers have so far seen their pay increase.

Nationwide pays its apprentices the Living Wage which compares with the apprentice national minimum wage of £2.85. This is set to rise to £3.30 in October but the poll shows that 75 percent of people asked consider this still to be too low.

The survey also found that 87 percent of people think that companies should voluntarily pay their employees the Living Wage if they can afford to. More than half of those polled stated that they would be more likely to use the goods and services of a company that paid its employees the Living Wage (58%).

Alison Robb, Nationwide’s Group Director, People, Customer, Communication and Commercial said: “The Living Wage Campaign has real momentum now and Nationwide and fellow Living Wage organisations are encouraging other employers to sign up. This poll shows that 58 percent of people would be more likely to use companies which pay their employees the Living Wage showing that as well as being the right thing to do, it also makes business sense.

“The Living wage isn’t just about salary increases, it’s about doing the right thing and enacting this principle by paying employees a fair wage for the work they do. Paying the Living Wage demonstrates investment in those who work for us and, in turn, our employees feel more respected and valued.”

Rhys Moore, director, Living Wage Foundation said: “The leadership from Nationwide on the Living Wage has been very much welcomed. The accreditation of Nationwide as a Living Wage employer a year ago has helped bring the Living Wage to high streets up and down the country. Conversations at local branches and in national boardrooms have been sparked by their commitment to fair pay and the Living Wage movement. With 87% of the public now saying they think that employers who can, should pay the Living Wage, we’re sure more businesses will follow their lead.

“As a Principal Partner of the Foundation, Nationwide’s advice and support is helping to develop the Living Wage movement. We look forward to working with them as we launch the ‘We buy Living Wage’ consumer campaign this year, and to continue to benefit from the great advocacy work of the Nationwide team.”

Notes to Editors

Nationwide case study:

Natalie Jordan, who works in the document management team based in Northampton has been working at Nationwide since October 2014. She said: “We were told we were going to get the Living Wage in December and it was only a small rise for me because we were being paid more than the minimum wage but it still made me feel a bit more valued. It’s more about the principle. “It means I worry that little bit less about money and that’s important. I think every employer should pay the Living Wage if they can as it makes employees feel a lot more appreciated and motivated.”

The Research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,566 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th - 31st March 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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