What is fair pay?

: Employer motivations for adopting the living wage

  • Stuart Hill

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines the influence employer conceptualisations of fair pay have on their decisions to adopt the ethical assurance scheme of the Living Wage in a context of statutory compliance. This study addresses a gap in knowledge because research to date has only gone as far as asking participant employers why they decided to adopt the voluntary Living Wage. Uniquely then, this research examines the conceptual bases of the UK National Minimum Wage and its extension of the National Living Wage and the voluntary Living Wage to compare these to employer conceptualisations of fair pay.

Qualitative interviews were conducted with ten smaller employers operating in the Brighton and Hove locale. Employers signed up to the voluntary Brighton and Hove Living Wage were compared to employers who were not signed up to identify similarities and differences in the way they conceptualised fair pay. Moreover, given employers in higher-paid industries sign up to this ethical assurance scheme, despite it being targeted at lower-paid workers, employers in both a high-paid industry and low-paid industry were therefore also compared.

Thematic analysis of interviewees’ responses revealed employer conceptualisations of fair pay appear to influence their decisions to sign up to the ethical assurance scheme of the Brighton and Hove Living Wage in a context of statutory compliance. Furthermore, echoing existing research, employers were also motivated to sign up to this ethical assurance scheme because it was in the best interests of their organisations to do so, because they felt it was the right thing to do, and because of the closer, more interdependent relationship that typically exists between employer and employee in such smaller organisations.

This thesis therefore makes a unique contribution to the body of knowledge. It extends our understanding of why employers are motivated to adopt the ethical assurance scheme of the Living Wage in a context of statutory compliance. They are motivated to do so because the conceptual basis of this voluntary minimum wage intervention aligns with their conceptualisations of fair pay.
Date of AwardMay 2019
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorJacqueline O'Reilly (Supervisor), David Lain (Supervisor) & Luke Fletcher (Supervisor)

Cite this

What is fair pay? : Employer motivations for adopting the living wage
Hill, S. (Author). May 2019

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis