University of Oxford signs up to Oxford Living Wage

Published: Friday, 28th February 2020

Almost 2,000 employees at the University of Oxford will get a pay rise as the University becomes the largest employer in the city to sign up to pay the Oxford Living Wage (OLW).

They will see their wages go up to at least £10.21 per hour as they move on to the new minimum hourly pay from 1 August 2020.

The Oxford Living Wage

In 2009 Oxford City Council introduced an Oxford Living Wage, set at 95% of the Living Wage Foundation’s London Living Wage, in recognition of the high cost of living in Oxford.

It takes into account not only the high rents, property prices and cost of travel for those living in and travelling to work in the city, but also the opportunity to enjoy the social and cultural attractions of Oxford.

In addition, research has shown that better pay levels improve wellbeing and general health.

University commitment

As part of its strategic plan, the University is committed to creating an environment that is supportive of wellbeing while ensuring Oxford remains an attractive place to work.

Employees in a wide range of jobs are set to benefit from the new rate of pay, with office/clerical support staff, library assistants, museums’ staff, security staff, invigilators, technicians, secretarial and personal assistants and retail workers just some of the roles most affected.

Apprentices, who were included when the University moved onto the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage, will be included once again. The University will initiate discussions with suppliers regarding a move to Oxford Living Wage where practicable.

“I am delighted that the University of Oxford has signed up to pay the Oxford Living Wage. This is a huge commitment from one of the city’s biggest and best known employers, and will have a positive impact on hundreds of people they employ.

“The cost of living in Oxford is one of the highest outside London, but wages in the lowest paid jobs often do not reflect this. We think that the Oxford Living Wage is a good way for employers to show they recognise the financial pressures for their staff, demonstrate the value they place on their employees, and support a more inclusive economy for Oxford.”

“We recognise some businesses and organisations will have concerns about increasing the monthly pay roll, but the University has demonstrated that even employers with significant numbers of people on the lowest rate can make that commitment. We hope that other employers will follow the example of the University.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the City Council

“There are many wonderful things about Oxford that make it an attractive place. However, it is known as being a city that is expensive to live and work in.

“Recognising this, I am very happy that the University Council has approved the introduction of the Oxford Living Wage for University staff, demonstrating our commitment to fair pay for our employees.” 

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice Chancellor for People and Gardens, Libraries and Museums

Colleges are independent employers and will make their own decisions about the OLW, but discussions are ongoing. St Cross College and Campion Hall already pay the OLW, and many more colleges pay the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage at present as well.

“The Conference of Colleges is in discussion with Oxford City Council. Conference representatives supported the University’s decision in the University Council meeting which decided on the matter of implementing the Oxford Living Wage.”

Spokesperson for the Conference of Colleges

 The Conference of Colleges is the forum where matters of shared interest and common purpose are dealt with.

Background information

The University employs around 17,000 people across the city.

In 2009 Oxford City Council introduced an Oxford Living Wage set at 95% of the Living Wage Foundation’s London Living Wage, in recognition of the high cost of living in Oxford.

For 2019-20 the Oxford Living Wage rate is £10.02 an hour, and will rise to £10.21 an hour in April 2020. 

Oxford University Council has approved implementation of the Oxford Living Wage from 1 August 2020.

Divisions and Departments from across the University, were consulted on implementing the Oxford Living Wage for University employees, including casual staff. All consulted parties support the introduction of the Oxford Living Wage.

The estimated five-year cost of implementing the Oxford Living Wage for University staff is £5.5 million.

The implementation of Oxford Living Wage will affect 2000 employees. This represents 8.2% of University employees and 6% of casuals.

The jobs that will benefit most are: Office/clerical Support (19.6%), Library Assistants, (17.6%), Security Staff (9.0%), Invigilator (7.9%), Technician (7.5%), Secretary/ Personal Assistant (7.3%), and Retail (5.2%).

Analysis indicates that a greater proportion of women (55%) than men (45%) will benefit from this move by the University.