Students prefer to work for living wage employers

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The living wage in London is currently £9.75 per hour, and £8.45 per hour outside of the capital

The majority (93%) of students say they would be more motivated to work if their employer paid a living wage to all staff members, according to research from the Living Wage Foundation and the National Union of Students.

Their Student Opinion Survey of 1,378 UK students found that 79% would think badly of an employer if cleaners and canteen staff, for example, did not earn the real living wage (different to the government's National Living Wage). More than four in five (84%) believe all employees should be eligible for it.

When searching for a graduate role 64% of students said they would be looking for evidence of ethical practices in potential employers.

The living wage in London is £9.75 per hour – significantly higher than the National Minimum Wage of £7.05 and National Living Wage of £7.50 per hour. Outside of London the living wage is £8.45.

Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman highlighted the importance of paying all staff a fair wage. “The message to employers from this survey is clear – if you want top talent you need to treat all staff fairly and pay a real living wage,” she said. “It’s not enough to provide great packages for graduates, students want to know that cleaners and agency staff earn enough to live on. That’s why we encourage all employers who can afford it to accredit as living wage employers and send a clear signal to the next generation that you are a responsible business.”

The survey comes as Middlesex University London celebrated becoming the 25th university to be accredited as a living wage employer. Tim Blackman, vice-chancellor of Middlesex University London, explained why this was important to the organisation.

“Not only does our ethical commitment to the London living wage matter to our existing and potential students, but fair wages paid by other employers are crucial for so many of our students who have no choice but to work while they are studying,” he said.

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