Found in: What we do
Exterior shot of Watershed Building and the harbour with a yellow ferry boat going past

Photographer  - Toby Farrow

Posted by:

Clare Reddington CEO

on Tue 18 July 2023

Becoming a Living Wage Employer

Posted on Tue 18 July 2023

Watershed is delighted to announce that we are now accredited as a Living Wage Employer, joining a growing list of employers in Bristol striving to drive change and reduce in-work poverty. 

Clare Reddington, Watershed CEO talks about our journey to becoming a Living Wage employer and why it's so important.

We have paid our staff Living Wage since June 2021, and have recently been officially accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, with a pledge to continue paying our staff fairly into the future. 

Times are really challenging for Watershed and others in the culture sector at the moment - ticket sales and trading remain less than pre-pandemic levels and inflation means that the cost of nearly everything has gone up. However, we believe that paying a real Living Wage is key to living by our values and to being an inclusive employer, so we wanted to make our commitment to it formal.  

The Living Wage is the only UK wage rate based on the cost of living. It is currently £10.90 outside London - compared to the legal minimum wage which is £10.18/£10.42 depending on your age. The Living Wage calculation is made according to the cost of living, based on a basket of household goods and services. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum.  

Since it began, the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 350,000 people and put over £2 billion extra into the pockets of low paid workers. Over half of employers said paying a real Living Wage has improved the quality of applications for jobs and 86% say it improved their reputation, 93%of accredited employers reported that they benefited from paying the real Living Wage - here at Watershed, we feel it will also help us to remain competitive, retain existing staff and attract new staff. 

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said:

"We're delighted that Watershed has joined the movement of over 12,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on."

"They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Everton Football Club and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Watershed, believe that a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay." 



Over a tenth of all jobs in the South West (11.1%) pay less than the real Living Wage - around 258,000 jobs. Despite this, in 2019, Bristol was formally recognised by the Living Wage Foundation for efforts to make Bristol a Living Wage City, one of the first UK cities to achieve this acknowledgement. An employer-led initiative, there are nearly 250 businesses in the city signed up and the city's efforts to increase people's pay have led to a pay rise for around 4,000 people. 

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol and Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance, Performance and Culture, said:

"Paying the Real Living Wage is one of the main ways in which an organisation can demonstrate how much they value their workforce. By ensuring that their staff are paid a wage that meets the costs and pressures they face everyday, an organisation marks itself out as being one that truly appreciates the people who work for it. I'm delighted to welcome Watershed to the Real Living Wage family and to count them amongst the nearly 250 businesses and organisations in the city who have taken this step. I, and others will stand alongside Clare and her team and champion the cause of a fair wage across the city."

Wages make up over half of Watershed's annual expenditure. We are absolutely committed to paying our staff fairly and as they deserve, however as a charity we need to find funds to enable all that we do to continue. People are what make Watershed and any support you can give enables us to pay our staff and the creatives and suppliers we work with fairly.  

If you would like to help us further, please do consider investing in Watershed by donating to Watershed.

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