The Everything Different team
Newcastle creative marketing services group Everything Different has become the first amongst its regional peers to be accredited as a Living Wage employer.
The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at Everything Different, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45.
Ben Quigley, group CEO of Everything Different Group, explains: “By paying the real Living Wage, we are voluntarily taking a stand to ensure their employees can earn a wage which is enough to live on.
“Pay conditions vary widely in this industry. Client budgets are tight which in turn leads to pressure on agencies to continually cut costs in a race to the bottom. This impacts on employees, particularly at the entry levels of the industry."
So what motivated them to adopt the Living Wage, in the face of those pressures? “We wanted to take a stand as a progressive employer,” Ben said. “It has meant that we voluntarily choose to pay direct staff such as graduate trainees at £8.45 an hour in Newcastle, and we ensure Living Wage pay applies to non-direct staff, such as our office cleaners.
“It is an extra cost to the business, but it’s a matter of principle.”
Headquartered in Newcastle, with an office in London with nearly 60 staff, Everything Different serves national and international clients including Sky, L’Oreal, Carpetright, Barker & Stonehouse and Sage.
“There’s been an amazing response from existing staff and prospective students and from the business community – messages of support, congratulation and endorsement. We’ve been blown away by the goodwill response on social media.
“By taking a stand as a high-profile employer in the creative digital sector, we are helping raise awareness on the living wage pay issue."
Confirmed in the top 100 fastest growing technology companies list at the Northern Tech Awards 2017, they anticipate this change will really help their workforce and consolidate their growth. “All staff including trainees are coming straight in on the Living Wage rates and we expect this to translate to improved retention rates and increased productivity, which is common for Living Wage employers.
“So everyone wins; the benefits outweigh the costs.”
Finally, we asked Ben how he’d react to someone who says – ‘but surely if you’re paying more salaries, you’re making less money?’ “We are happy to do both! The Living Wage is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.,” Ben adds.
“In turn, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay also increases staff retention and productivity. So by paying more, we actually expect to make more money in the long run!”
Living Wage Foundation director, Katherine Chapman, added: “We are delighted to welcome Everything Different to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.
“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.
“We have accredited nearly 3,000 leading employers, including Everything Different, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and SSE. These businesses recognise that clinging to the National Living Wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that."