Nationwide Building Society poll shows insight into Living Wage opinion

By Anita Jaynes on April 16, 2015

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.”