RETENTION of staff at lower grades on the pay scale at the University of Glasgow has improved “significantly” since the introduction of the living wage.

“While a number of factors have undoubtedly had an impact on reducing staff attrition, the university is confident that introducing the living wage, alongside striving to provide greater security for staff, has played a key role in contributing to the retention of key staff,” said Christine Barr, director of human resources.

With more than 7600 staff, the university has been a fully accredited Scottish Living Wage employer since 2015, and accreditation positively affects nearly 700 members of staff working in support roles across cleaning services, security and other key support functions.

Offering and paying the living wage is just one element of a larger scale package designed by the university to enhance the working environment for its staff. The package includes a “significant” reduction in zero hour employment contracts and casual worker arrangements, with the University committing to offering secure employment opportunities with guaranteed hours wherever possible and fair and transparent working arrangements.

Each year, the university immediately actions any rise in the living wage for all relevant staff, meaning they receive a pay rise seven months in advance of the national wage increase for the sector. As well as ensuring staff are paid the living wage, the university applies the same principle to all casual workers and implemented procurement procedures to ensure that contractors and potential contractors are encouraged, as far as possible, to pay the living wage to those regularly working on university premises.

As a sizeable employer in Glasgow, the university says it is proud to be leading the way in offering workers not only the statutory living wage, but also going one-step beyond and offering staff a “real” living wage and secure employment opportunities.

“Our people sit at the heart of our university strategy, embodying our core values of being passionate, professional and progressive, and delivering a truly inspiring environment for our students and researchers, and a positive working culture for our staff,” said Barr.

“We highly value the contribution of all our colleagues to the university, and we are delighted to sit alongside other accredited Scottish Living Wage employers, supporting our staff in offering the voluntary living wage to all those who contribute to our mission of delivering excellence in research, teaching and enhancing the student experience.”

The UK living wage for outside London is currently £8.75 per hour. It is significantly higher than the UK Government’s “national living wage” rate of £7.50 which applies to over-25s only.

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.