Are We Paying Workers Enough?

Published on: Tue, 14 Dec 2021
By: Rachael, redwigwam

Lorna Davidson, CEO of redwigwam sparked the debate this week, and we were blown away with the number of responses.

Minimum wage is rising to £9.50 per hour from April 2022 - yet according to the Living Wage foundation, the National Living wage in the UK should be £9.90ph, and in London, £11.05ph. The question was asked:

The minimum wage rises to £9.50 per hour from April '22. But what should the living wage be?

With various different options available.

  • £9.50ph – enough
  • £10-£11ph – fairer
  • £12-£13ph – comfortable
  • £13+

Both £12-13ph and £13+ are battling it out on the poll, currently tying with 36% of the votes each. £10-£11ph sits with 22% of the votes whilst £9.50ph is at a very low 7%. The poll is currently sat with over 4,000 votes.

With lots of people debating in the comments, we thought we’d share some of the top insights to why living wage should be raised…

Are you looking for workers?

“If wages had kept up with inflation - it hasn't since the 70s - we'd be at about £17.”

Everything is getting more and more expensive, yet the National living wage has failed to keep on top of many peoples expenses. A £17 per hour living wage in locations such as London would help many working-class families greatly.

“It has to be between £12 and £13. In some parts of the country, you cannot live on £9.50. it is completely wrong that some people are working two or three jobs just to survive. Where is their work life balance?”

There were droves of people in the comments expressing their frustrations towards the £9.50 per hour pay rise, and the commentor above has very fair points. In a country where we are striving for a better work-life-balance, people shouldn’t have to work several jobs, and miss out on times with their loved ones in order to survive.

“I personally believe that minimum wage should also be changed so that it is the same regardless of age. Many 16-year-olds leave school and go straight into work because their family struggles financially or just because they want to and it’s not fair that they should be working for £4.62 whilst people older than them (who probably do the same amount of work if not less) are on twice that amount for no reason other than their age. I’ve seen many businesses take advantage of their younger workers by making them take on a larger workload than others yet paying them less.”

16-year-olds across the nation work hard, for very little pay, and not every young person has parents that can support them (especially since Covid-19). At redwigwam we pay our workers the same rate regardless of age, and we hope to see more of this in future.

"What I'm really curious about is if minimum wage increases will people higher up the ladder i.e. more experienced, qualified etc - will their salaries increase in line with that?
Whilst I've believed for a long time that minimum wage is too low, I also believe there should be a reasonable difference in salary between starters/unqualified compare to those who are experienced and/or qualified.
Otherwise, what’s the incentive?  
However, if all are increased, how will companies cope with that especially on the back of COVID?"

This is always an interesting debate that comes up, and it worries many higher-wage workers across the UK. If minimum wage is increased, should workers earning more than that expect a pay rise? Whilst lots of bigger businesses may be able to assess this and act accordingly, smaller businesses may struggle to keep up with increasing salaries of their more experienced employees.  

In our own experience at redwigwam, workers are wanting more. The better paid jobs on the system will, of course, book much faster. This also very much depends on location. An £11 per hour cleaning role outside of London is far more likely to fill than one in the capital’s centre – a major factor being living costs, and whether the job is seen as ‘worth it’.

Workers are no longer accepting minimum wage jobs, and if they do, they’re looking for something else to keep them afloat. It’s been great to see how many people think the National Living wage should be higher all over the UK, and we at redwigwam hope it is raised, with help given to smaller businesses.

We believe at redwigwam, paying your workers more is a winning formula. Employers benefit from a variety of factors when they pay proper salaries, including healthier employees, lower turnover, more productivity, greater loyalty, and fewer disciplinary issues, the list goes on. At redwigwam we are here to help you with your staffing issues, you can get in touch for a demo here, or join in our debate today!

Want to read the debate and get involved on Lorna’s LinkedIn? Click here for more.

Are you looking for workers?