New survey shows SME support for ‘Living Wage’

Posted on 5 Feb 2014 by The Manufacturer

Almost two thirds of manufacturing SME owners are in favour of the 'Living Wage', according to a new survey published today.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management on financial issues, showed 64% of bosses questioned backed the policy.

51% also said that the voluntary concept, which asks employers to commit to paying staff a wage that covers the basic cost of living, could also be implemented in their business in the near future.

It currently stands at £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 an hour in the rest of the UK, higher than the national minimum wage of £6.31 an hour for adults.

Steve Gee, managing director of Close Brothers’ manufacturing division, said: “The idea has been in the spotlight recently receiving widespread political support, but to date has seen limited backing from employers, so it’s interesting to learn that such a large proportion are now considering its implementation.”

Mr Gee added that a fifth of those questioned were opposed to the idea, while two fifths (38%) voiced concerns that its implementation would lead to a cutting of jobs.

“Many firms are operating on very tight margins, so it’s understandable that they might not feel able to boost wages,” he said.

“However, the other side of the argument is that making this kind of commitment to staff may lead to better quality work, higher levels of productivity and increased staff retention as employees feel valued and therefore potentially more loyal to their employer.”

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