The Times press coverage linked to Living Wage status

It’s been over two and a half years since we became an official Living Wage Employer (having previously heeded the calculations without the formal adoption) and it’s become an important part of our talent acquisition and staff retention package. It’s even gained us national recognition with press coverage in The Times newspaper in June 2023.

Why is it so important? Everyone will have felt the cost of living crisis to a greater or lesser degree. Traditional industries such as manufacturing and distribution warehouses have felt the pinch more than most perhaps – often located in industrial heartlands rather than commercial centres. A large local employer like us has extended families on the payroll – husbands and wives on split shifts to support childcare arrangements; fathers (and mothers) and sons – meaning we have a significant role to play in the wider community too. The Living Wage Foundation set out to ensure people got a ‘fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work’, with that hourly rate set above the National Minimum Wage and based on an amount calculated against a basket of household goods and services. Outside of London it stands at £12 per hour for employees aged 23+ compared to the minimum wage at £10.42, whilst London weighting means £13.15.

So how has our adoption of The Living Wage changed our operations? With every single employee paid a salary that is in excess of the Living Wage, we’d been able to retain our staff and grow our talent, even in the face of competition from the likes of Amazon. Our year-on-year staff retention rate stands at an impressive 88%. From a recruitment point of view, a competitive renumeration and a package of private healthcare and wellbeing benefits is a compelling offering; but it is equally important in ensuring staff feel valued day in day out – no more so than at the end of the month when salaries are paid.

Has it cost us more to be a formal Living Wage employer – our Executive Director Jean-Sebastien Pelland suggested otherwise to The Times:

“I hardly spend any time recruiting. I don’t spend fees with agencies and the training I do, rather than being focused on basic, operating skills, I can focus on the soft skills: wellbeing, leadership and teamwork . . . the things that make us a better business. We are not constantly reinventing the way we work; we are accumulating knowledge. It pays back so quickly in a reduction in errors: we send the right cable to the right place at the right time. When you are shipping 500 orders in a day, I can’t wake up every morning knowing I am going to let five customers down.”

We continue to be a proud Living Wage employer – one of now over 14,000 and growing UK businesses. We believe it adds emphasis to our credibility with customers: looking after our staff is a key part of our ESG commitments, and it is this ethical approach about putting people first that shines through.