An Exploratory Study into the Perceptions of Politicians and SME Owners on how the Living Wage Agenda can Impact SMEs
(2015) An Exploratory Study into the Perceptions of Politicians and SME Owners on how the Living Wage Agenda can Impact SMEs, no. 95.
The Living Wage (LW) agenda is ever growing, with more organisations increasingly choosing to pay all staff a LW. After thoroughly reviewing literature on the issue, it was clear that little research had been done previously. A research project looking into the impacts LW can have specifically on Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) proved to be a niche where no research had been done, which created a strong rationale for research. This study will analyse the perceptions from two points of view: Politicians, and SME owners, in order to assess how the living wage agenda can impact SMEs. Objectives of the study are: (i) Provide an overview of the LW concept (ii) To evaluate the extent to which SMEs are able to implement a LW in Scotland, with the opportunities and challenges it carries (iii) To analyse politicians' perceptions of the LW, and their role in its implementation in Scotland. Three Politicians in high roles of government participated in this study, as well as eight Owners of SMEs. These participants were each involved in a semi structured interview and gave their valued perceptions on the research topic. Findings from the process suggest that there are many benefits to be seen by an SME paying employees a LW. With that being said, it was felt that many SMEs would struggle to afford the costs associated in paying a LW for their own individual reasons. A strong opinion was gathered from participants, arguing that more organisations paying a LW would be great for the wider national economy and beneficial to SMEs. It was also found that there is a role for government in the LW agenda, and more specifically in helping SMEs that pay, or are aspiring to pay a LW. SME owners not paying a LW felt that they would consider paying all staff a LW if government help was offered.