17 November 2014
Earlier this month the UK Living Wage rate was set at £7.85 an hour, an increase of 2.6 per cent that makes it 21 per cent higher than the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour.
The week of the announcement was also Living Wage week, the aim of which was to encourage more employers to build these rates into their business models.
A report conducted by financial information firm Markit for KPMG suggests that 5.28 million people are being paid less than the Living Wage, or 22 per cent of employees (up from 21 per cent last year). Although the rise sounds modest, in real terms it equates to about 147,000 people.
The data also indicates a worrying trend that sees part-time, female and young workers as the most likely to earn a wage that fails to provide a basic but decent standard of living.
Among measures to ensure that employers implement the Living Wage is for firms to sign up to become a Living Wage employer or registered Living Wage service provider.
As Chris Moriarty, head of insight and corporate affairs at BIFM, says: "It would be great to set an aspiration for the FM industry to be 100 per cent Living Wage by 2018.
"However, we can't do it alone and there are no silver bullets. But I'm confident that we will continue to take positive strides towards this vision each year."
How realistic is this aspiration? How much does facing up to the Living Wage issue go to the heart of the issues surrounding FM's perceived value to an organisation?
We asked you whether the FM industry will be 100 per cent Living Wage by 2018?
Sixty two per cent of you said 'yes'. One hopeful respondent said: "However, it needs HM Government and the 493 [or so] local unitary, county and district/London borough local authorities to set the example."
Another respondent added: "The other area where leadership is needed is from FTSE 100 and 250 companies. However, the most resistance is likely to be from companies in the Federation of Small Businesses. In practice, I suspect it will not be achieved."
Thirty-eight per cent of you said 'no'. One respondent said: "There are too many employers who do not want to pay it (or will not pay it)."
One respondent added: "While from an aspiration perspective it would be fantastic to achieve, the reality on the ground is something quite different; even now too many tenders are focused on cost rather than quality."