Latest News
Updates from the Living Wage Foundation

News: Pay your cleaners a real Living Wage if you want the best graduates, new survey finds

The Living Wage Foundation Student Opinion survey in conjunction with the National Union of Students, found 93 per cent of students want to work for a Living Wage employer, where all staff, including cleaners and contracted staff, earn enough to live on.  

The vast majority of students, 79 per cent, said they would have a dim view of their company if cleaners and canteen staff, for example, did not earn the real Living Wage. 

When looking for a job, 64 per cent of students said they actively seek out evidence of ethical practices.

The Living Wage Foundation student survey found:

  • 93% are motivated to work for an employer who pays a real Living Wage
  • 84% believe employers should pay all staff enough to live on
  • 79% would think badly of their employer if they paid any staff less than the real Living Wage 
  • 67% or more than two-thirds would be influenced by Living Wage Foundation accreditation 
  • 64% look for evidence of ethical practices in employers 

Robbie Young of the National Union of Students said: 

"This polling is a clear reflection of the difference between the next generation of graduates. They are engaged and politically active but also want to work for ethical companies who pay all their staff a real Living Wage

"This cohort care that their workplace meets the correct standards and everybody regardless of position is paid adequately. If businesses want to recruit the best and the brightest they need to make sure they’re ethically sound. Paying the Living Wage is the first step to becoming a responsible and sustainable business."

Graduates are increasingly asking about the Living Wage status of employers in job interviews.

As Tristan Thomas, Head of Marketing and Community at tech start-up company Monzo, who look to employ top talent, said:

"Almost everyone who applies to work at Monzo mentions our ethical and transparent stance as one of the main reasons they want to join us, especially when hiring graduates and school leavers. Committing to paying the Living Wage has been a big part of that and enables us to bring in more of the best talent in the job market as we grow rapidly."

Living Wage employer KPMG’s Head of People, Anna Purchas said: 

"This research, showing students are passionate about working for an organisation that pays their employees a fair wage, is incredibly heartening. At KPMG, we know this is a critical issue for both employers, in order to attract the best talent, and employees, who want to know they are being paid a fair wage and that they work for a responsible organisation.  

"As one of the first organisations in the UK to adopt the real Living Wage more than ten years ago, KPMG is deeply committed to the welfare of our workforce.  The research shows it is as relevant as ever, and we encourage UK businesses to continue to push this agenda."

Living Wage Foundation Director, Katherine Chapman said: 

"The message to employers from this survey is clear -if you want top talent, you need to treat all staff fairly and pay a real Living Wage. It’s not enough to provide great packages for graduates, students want to know that cleaners and agency staff earn enough to live on through the real Living Wage. 

"That’s why we encourage all employers who can afford it, to accredit as Living Wage employers and send a clear signal to the next generation that you are a responsible business.

The survey is published as Middlesex University celebrate becoming the 25th university to accredit as a Living Wage employer.

The living wage commitment will see everyone working at Middlesex University London, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly London Living Wage of £9.75 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £7.05 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.50 per hour. 

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University London said: 

"Middlesex University London is a major employer and contributor to the Barnet and wider north west London economies, and home to 20,000 students and 1,900 staff at our Hendon campus. It is important that we lead by example.

"Not only does our ethical commitment to the London Living Wage matter to our existing and potential students, but fair wages paid by other employers are crucial for so many of our students who have no choice but to work while they are studying with us.”

16th August 2017, 00:01
Back to News