HAVING quality staff is so important for businessman Martin Jack that he pays the real living wage in an industry where the pay is often poor.

His Glasgow-based business organises events such as conferences, seminars and training days where customer service is key.

As Jack is only able to employ people for specific events he relies on freelance workers when required.

However, while the company could benefit from hiring hospitality students who need work experience and use this as an excuse to pay no or low wages, Jack says his social conscience would not allow him to follow suit.

“I’ve always paid my staff for their shifts,” he said.

“Often I need them to come in early in the morning and paying a decent wage encourages people to engage with their work.

“After the downturn we remodelled so that we now utilise freelance staff as and when required but it is on condition that they are paid the real living wage. At the end of the day it has worked for me because I have no problem getting staff even though it may only be for a few hours at a time.”

His business, Think Different Events, has been accredited as a Scottish Living Wage Employer for three years.

“It gives you a bit of loyalty from people,” explained Jack.

“It is hard to get staff loyalty from freelances but I think if you pay the living wage you do get that and they go over and above the call of duty when they are working for you because they want to come back.

“It’s a lot easier to get someone to do something outwith their comfort zone if they are getting paid well and it is a lot easier to hire people if they know they are going to be paid better than some jobs they may be offered.”

Jack added: “A lot of companies have a core staff then bring people in to supplement that but a lot of them take advantage of the college sector because they know the students require work experience.

“The students might be happy to sign up for a festival thinking they will be close to the action then find themselves standing in a car park for hours with no great financial reward.

“I wouldn’t do that sort of thing because it does not benefit the company or the individual.

“I would rather pay more to get good staff as I win jobs on the quality of my team. The client depends on me having good staff and pays for that and I am happy to give a good chunk of that to my employees.

“Then I can go to prospective clients knowing I have a good team.

“It’s a win-win for me as good staff will make a good impact with the client.

“The type of events I run can mean the staff are mixing with politicians, senior management and senior civil servants and I don’t need any grief about any of my team,” said Jack.

“If I get a good client I want to keep them and one of the ways I do that is by having quality staff. If that means paying a premium then that’s fine.”

The UK living wage for outside London is currently £8.75 per hour.

These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in the UK.

Jack established Think Different Events in 2006 after working in the public sector delivering training programmes and conferences for more than fifteen years.

The company aims to provide high quality event management.