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Customers would shun retailers who don’t pay living wage

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Four out of ten customers would shop elsewhere if they found out a retailer does not pay its staff the living wage, according to research by KPMG and Censuswide.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK adults also shows that 52% of customers are willing to pay higher prices at shops, pubs and restaurants if it means staff are paid a higher salary.

Two-thirds of the public believe the economy has improved sufficiently to justify increases in pay, with 70% wanting those on the lowest incomes to be the first to receive them. Despite this, support for making the living wage mandatory is low, with only 21% strongly agreeing that minimum levels should be set by the Government.

The living wage is a recommended level of pay employers are encouraged to give their staff so that they can reasonably support themselves. It currently stands at £8.80 in London and £7.65 in other parts of the UK. The national minimum wage is £6.31 for those aged 21 and over.

KPMG head of CR and chair of the Living Wage Foundation Mike Kelly told HR magazine he has seen indications that the living wage has become a mainstream issue over the past 12 months.

“A year ago if I went into a meeting about the living wage it would mostly be with someone associated with CSR,” he said. “Now it’s either the HR director of head of reward every time. This is just one indicator that companies are starting to see this as part of their pay and reward strategy going forward.”

Kelly added that the intention to pay a living wage is also becoming more widespread among FTSE 100 companies, with 13 now adopting the policy.

“At current rates it’s conceivable we could be up to 25 as early as November,” he said.