sbarc | spark is Wales’ first Living Wage building

Cardiff University’s sbarc|spark is Wales’ first Living Wage building.
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Cardiff partners Cynnal Cymru

Cardiff University’s sbarc | spark is Wales’ first Living Wage building.

The pledge means all tenants in Cardiff’s future ‘Home of Innovation’ will be obliged to pay at least the real Living Wage to employees and onsite contractors.

The University worked with Cynnal Cymru – the sustainable development forum for Wales – to receive accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Living Wage Buildings are part of the Living Wage Places initiative: sbarc|spark is the UK’s third, following International House in Brixton, South London and The Workbox in Penzance, Cornwall.

Hawkins / Brown and Wigwam Architectural Visualisation
Hawkins / Brown and Wigwam Architectural Visualisation

Sarah Hopkins, Director of Cynnal Cymru, said: “We are delighted to have worked with sbarc | spark in meeting the criteria for the first Living Wage Building in Wales. The team has shown real leadership in the pace and commitment to taking this initiative forward. Since 2019, Cardiff has been recognised for its ambition to make Cardiff a Living Wage City and Living Wage Buildings have an important role to play in ensuring more workers in Cardiff are receiving a real Living Wage.”

Sbarc|spark will be home to SPARK, the Social Science Research Park, where 400 researchers will share their collective expertise to solve societal challenges, and Cardiffinnovations@sbarc, the University’s centre for start-ups, spinouts and enterprise.

Professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff’s President and Vice-Chancellor, said the pledge complements the University’s status as a Living Wage employer since 2014.

“We were an early and active champion for the Living Wage in Cardiff, Wales and the higher education sector. The University was the first in Wales and one of the first Russell Group universities outside London to be accredited, and we’re delighted to maintain our progress through the Living Wage programme.”

Professor Chris Taylor, Director of SPARK, added: “Sbarc | spark’s accreditation as a Living Wage Building exemplifies our research ambitions to address issues of social injustice. The Living Wage is already a focus of the University’s research. For example, Cardiff Business School academics have studied the motivations of organisations to become a Living Wage employer, how accreditation has changed their reputation and relationships, and how it has improved employee recruitment and retention.”

The results from the study, conducted by Cardiff Business School, showed 86% believed it had enhanced the organisation’s corporate reputation; 84% said it had enhanced the organisation’s reputation as an employer; 74% said it had increased the motivation of employees, and 67% said it had improved employee retention.

The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs.

The University’s own research has shown how the real Living Wage has given more than £1billion in extra wages to workers since 2001, amounting to £29.3 million in Wales, where there are 2,781 accredited Living Wage employers.

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