The “real living wage” is set by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) and is £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London. It is independently calculated based on what people need to get by and is currently paid by more than 10,000 businesses. The organisation runs an accreditation scheme where businesses are committed to paying all staff and those in their network the living wage. Here we look at some of the big players in retail that have received accreditation for paying the living wage, and some that have not.
The fashion powerhouse was accredited by the LWF in April 2015. The luxury British brand is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has more than 9,000 employees worldwide. Its chief executive, Jonathan Akeroyd, took the helm last October after being the boss at rival fashion house Versace since 2016. He had also held jobs at Alexander McQueen and Harrods. Akeroyd was given a £6m “golden hello” for leaving his previous position, with a deal to be paid a base salary of £1.1m, with a maximum annual bonus worth up to 200% of his base, and a share plan worth 162.5% of annual salary.
The flatpack Scandinavian furniture retailer was accredited by the LWF in March 2016. The Sweden-based company was founded in 1943 and rapidly expanded to have stores in 30 countries and 225,000 employees. The company was praised by the retail trade union Usdaw last year for being “one of a few retail employers who pay the real living wage”. Jesper Brodin is chief executive of Ingka group, the holding company that controls most Ikea stores globally, but in the UK its boss is Peter Jelkeby, who according to documents at Companies House was paid £268,000 in 2019 and £271,000 in 2020.
The cosmetics firm was accredited by the LWF in April 2017. It was set up in 1995 by six co-founders: Helen Ambrosen, Liz Bennett, Rowena Bird, Mark Constantine, Mo Constantine and Paul Greaves. Mark Constantine is the current chief executive and the company employs more than 4,000 staff in the UK and 13,652 people globally. The company is private so does not make its chief executive’s pay public. It prides itself on its ethical approach to business and natural handmade products. It previously said that paying the living wage was “another important ethical commitment that we’ve made as a business”.
The popular high street clothes shop is not LWF accredited. However, the firm, which employs 78,000 people, has unveiled a sustainability strategy pledging that all workers within its supply chain will be paid the living wage by 2030. The plan also commits the company to ensuring its clothes are made from recyclable or more sustainably sourced materials. Its chief executive, Paul Marchant, said the “new and exciting chapter” would still deliver customers the affordable goods they are accustomed to but “in a way that is better for the planet and the people who make them”. The retailer is owned by Associated British Foods, where the chief executive is George Weston, whose total pay was £1.13m in 2020 and £3.39m in 2021.
The sportswear company was founded by John Wardle and David Makin in Bury, Greater Manchester in 1981 and is not an accredited LWF employer. There have been no recent announcements or commitments from the firm about paying the living wage for the more than 37,000 staff it employs. The current executive chairman is Peter Cowgill, who has been in the position at the company since March 2004. He was paid £4.29m in 2021 and £4.72m in 2020.
The fast fashion retailer is not an accredited LWF employer. However, the company has pledged it will have a net zero impact on the environment by 2030, give customers more information about its supply chain and recruit a more diverse workforce. The previous chief executive, who left in October last year, was Nick Beighton who was paid £1.88m in 2021 and received a total pay packet of £1.73m in 2020. The company is still searching for a replacement CEO, with chief financial officer, Matt Dunn, ruling himself out of the running for the top job. The company directly employs 3,600 staff.