With over a billion workers estimated to earn less than they need to afford a decent standard of living, the United Nations Global Compact is calling for employers to take action. Unfortunately, even as more companies get behind Living Wage commitments, a major hurdle towards closing the Living Wage gap persists: the lack of agreement on what constitutes a Living Wage by location. Without alignment across different living wage methodologies, efforts by employers, organisations and governments to implement wage management programs are fragmented, reducing widespread adoption of Living Wages.
To tackle these issues and meet the growing demand for accurate and consistent Living Wage data,six leading organisations: BSR, Living Wage Foundation, Living Wage For US, Loughborough University Centre for Research in Social Policy, NewForesight, and WageIndicator Foundation, have formed the WageMap consortium.
WageMap’s mission is to support the achievement of living wages for workers globally through strengthening a global movement of data and service providers. By informing, supporting, and incentivising all relevant actors, WageMap aims to close the Living Wage gap in a credible way.
WageMap’s four key objectives are to :
- Establish a Living Wage Standard through a stakeholder-consulted standard-setting process that objectively evaluates Living Wage calculation methodologies and guides implementation efforts. This uniform living wage standard will drive consensus amongst data providers and serve as the foundation for setting incentives for front running employers such as certification, rankings, and reporting mechanisms.
- Choose a globally comparable, locally specific, Living Wage Benchmark for each location to generate consensus on the definition of 'best available' living wage data among publicly-available datasets in order to speed up Living Wage implementation.
- Strengthen collective capacity to drive implementation through a credible support system of service providers that can support companies, unions, civil society, and governments to implement the best sourcing, pricing, compensation practices, and policies.
- Grow the Global Living Wage Movement of stakeholders who wish to play an active role in supporting the movement to close the Living Wage Gap. Low wages are rooted in systemic inequality and to enable living wage solutions requires all stakeholders. Global and local actors involved in wage-setting decisions each have a role to play in defining a living wage, as well as in how it should be implemented.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:
"We are delighted to be part of the WageMap consortium. Momentum behind Living Wages globally has never been stronger and now is the time for all stakeholders to work together to remove the barriers to employers signing up - be that data alignment, shared approaches to implementation, myth-busting and recognition for employers who are at the forefront of leading change through our Global Affiliate network"