Catherine McGuinness, policy chair for the City of London Corporation, talks about the importance of the Living Wage and why more businesses pay it.
Last week, the Living Wage Foundation announced the new UK Living Wage hourly rate of £9.30, an increase of 30p from last year.
It means over 210,000 workers are set for a pay rise. Paying the Living Wage helps improve quality of life and gives people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.
But there is still much more to be done. One in five people employed in London don’t earn a wage they can live on and we all have a responsibility to change this statistic. We want all firms to recognise that paying the Living Wage is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for their businesses too.
When I speak to young City workers at the start of their careers, they want to know that their employers are standing up and making a positive difference. They want to work for firms paying the Living Wage, using renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions.
Indeed, research commissioned by the City of London Corporation shows the current generation of young people entering the workforce are more environmentally conscious than the Millennials who preceded them.
In our survey, 80% of Generation Z (18-22-year olds) ranked tackling single use plastics as important or very important for employers – and 37% said they would consider a potential employer’s environmental responsibility when looking for a job.
So, we know there is now overwhelming desire for companies to demonstrate their responsible business credentials in order to be the best, and attract the top talent. That’s why the City Corporation is taking bold and practical action to be one of the capital’s most responsible organisations. And we are working closely with many businesses who are taking great strides alongside us.
We are eradicating unnecessary single-use plastic across our organisation, switching to 100% renewable electricity and joining RE100, putting us alongside the world’s leading organisations committed to 100% renewable power.
Our new Living Wage policy covers all staff, including our 143 apprentices, our work experience students, contractors and subcontractors. And this February we encouraged London’s firms to adopt the Living Wage through a major publicity campaign reaching five million people in the capital.
Our ambitious 10-year social mobility strategy aims to not only level London’s playing field but to make it fairer too, ensuring everyone can participate, compete and succeed. And in June, over 130 leading global businesses including Google, KPMG and Amazon took part in our major careers festival for more than 5,000 young Londoners.
We are helping to break down barriers to women’s progression in the workplace. We’ve signed the Women in Finance Charter, partnered with the Government to develop guidance for businesses to close the gender pay gap, and pledged to increase the number of women in senior roles across all areas of our organisation to 45% by 2023.
And our gender identity policy ensures that all our services are fully inclusive and do not discriminate against trans people. There are hundreds of social and environmental issues facing the planet; within our supply chains, our communities and our business, and we need to address them urgently.