Over 5.75 million employees in the UK earn less than the real Living Wage.
There are now nearly 5,000 accredited Living Wage Employers in the UK. However, only 185 are in the tech sector. These organisations are leading the way in responsible pay by ensuring all direct and regular third-party staff receive the real Living Wage of £9.00 per hour in the UK and £10.55 per hour in London.
Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis as it provides an ethical benchmark for responsible pay.
Tech Nation supports the campaign to bring more employers in the tech sector to become Living Wage Employers.
Tech Nation’s story began in Shoreditch in 2011, launched by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, to support the East London tech cluster known as London Tech City or Silicon Roundabout.
Since then they have spread their activities to cover other parts of the UK. They set up Tech North to run programmes across the North of England.
Last November, Prime Minister Theresa May and the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the launch of Tech Nation, consolidating Tech City UK and Tech North’s impact.
Gary Cheetham, Founder of SystemPioneer Ltd said:
“As a tech start-up, we’ve decided to become an accredited Living Wage Employer because it’s a powerful way to showcase our company culture and values to the world. Since accreditation, we’ve noticed a large increase in the number of job applications we’ve been receiving. Ethically speaking, companies have a strong obligation to treat all their employees fairly and this accreditation marks us out as a great place to work in the increasingly competitive job market.”
Tara Mansfield, Head of People at Monzo said:
“We fundamentally believe that in order to invest in your team and show that you actually care, organisations need to pay the Living Wage. Employees perform better and are more engaged when you do. We went Living Wage a few years ago and haven’t looked back. I’d recommend everyone do it – it’s straightforward and supports our wider social mission perfectly.”
Nearly a quarter of the country’s workforce earn less than the real living wage.
It includes nearly a third of women working in the UK. As a result, two-thirds of children in poverty have a parent in work.
The number of businesses and organisations now paying the real living wage has risen. However, the Living Wage Foundation, whilst welcoming the recent rise is urging employers to go further.
The government’s National Living Wage or NLW recently rose from £7.83 to £8.21 for workers over 25.
The real Living Wage is £9.00 per hour in the UK and £10.55 per hour in London.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said at the time:
“Today’s increase in the government minimum wage will provide a welcome boost to low pay workers. But around 6 million workers still earn less than the real Living Wage and struggle to keep their heads above water. Many are unable to afford even the basics like decent family meals, or a warm and safe home. Over 5,000 responsible employers have gone beyond the government minimum and committed to paying a real Living Wage. We now need to see more businesses step up a provide a wage that truly covers the cost of living.”
The gap between the government minimum and the real Living Wage is widest for young people aged 18-20. They would earn just £11,992.50 a year, or £5,557.5 a year less than a full-time worker of the same age earning a real Living Wage. They would need to work 90 extra days, or over 18 weeks longer, to earn a real Living Wage.
Research conducted by the Living Wage Foundation shows:
That a worker on the new government minimum would earn an annual salary worth £1,540.50 a year less than the real Living Wage, based on what employees and their families need to get by. It would take 25 additional working days to make up this shortfall, the equivalent of working 5 weeks extra every year.
For workers in London the gap is even wider, with full-time workers earning the new government minimum set to earn £4,563 less than those earning the independently-calculated London Living Wage. These workers would need to work 49 more days to earn a real Living Wage, or well over two months more.
This additional £1,540.50 could pay for:
- Almost six months’ food and drink bills for an average household – £1,575.60
- Over a year’s average gas and electricity bills – £1,322
- Over 2 months’ average rent – £1,422
The campaign for a Living Wage was launched by members of London Citizens in 2001. Parents in East London found that despite working two or more minimum wage jobs they were struggling to make ends meet and were left with no time for community and family life.
It has seen over £800m of additional pay put back into the pockets of low-paid families.
The campaign has become an excellent example of how civil society, businesses and organisations can work together to tackle in-work poverty. It also enjoys cross-party support, with public backing from successive London and regional mayors, and MPs from across the UK.
The Living Wage is independently calculated every year based on what employees and their families need to get by. It’s based on a social consensus of what people need for a decent standard of living and to participate fully in society. This includes everything from housing, transport, and heating, to a small birthday celebration or a trip to the cinema.