WorkerTech newsletter: September 2022

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


Last week, the day before the not-so-mini budget, the Living Wage Foundation announced the new real Living Wage. In a year of unprecendented inflation due to soaring energy prices, we have also seen a significant rise in the real Living Wage both in and outside of London. This month we’re taking a closer look at the real Living Wage in the context of WorkerTech and low-paid work.

We’re also partnering with Ufi Ventures to bring you a great event on 15th November which will explore the outlook for impact investing in education and employment with founders and investors from across the sector. More details and the registration link are just below.

Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

Impact investing in technology to address skills and employment challenges

Join us on 15th November to explore the future of investment in impact, with a focus on skills technology. As part of Week of VocTech, we are partnering with Ufi Ventures to discuss the market outlook for impact businesses, measures of success for impact venture investing and emerging models of impact investment.

Our expert panel includes:

Helen Gironi, Director at Ufi Ventures
Louise Marston, Director of Ventures at Resolution Foundation
Paul Moynihan, Co-founder of TaskHer
Sunil Suri, COO of greenworkx
Maria Wagner, Partner at Beringea

Time: 10 – 11am, 15th November
Location: Resolution Foundation, 2 Queen Anne’s Gate, SW1H 9AA (the event will also be available to watch online for those who are unable to join us in person)
Register to attend:

The real Living Wage and a changing world of work

Almost 400,000 people working for over 11,000 real Living Wage Employers throughout the country are set for a vital cost-of-living boost as the new Living Wage rates rise to £10.90 an hour across the UK and £11.95 an hour in London.

The real Living Wage is an hourly rate of pay set independently and calculated annually depending on basic cost of living in the UK. It is paid voluntarily by over 11,000 employers in the UK, ranging from household names to SMEs.

We think that a real Living Wage is fundamental to achieving good work, and while our team at the Resolution Foundation supports the Living Wage Foundation each year to calculate the new real Living Wage, changes in the way that people work are affecting how organisations think about a living wage.

For example, how do you calculate a living wage for gig workers? The Institute for Employment Studies and the Living Wage Foundation are working together to explore how a living wage accreditation can be used in the platform economy. Expenses, waiting time (e.g. for delivery drivers) and travel time can be barriers to gig workers earning the real Living Wage.

Last year, the Living Wage Foundation ran the Gig Economy Challenge with the Mayor of London to fuel innovation on this area. Ventures Finmo, WorkerBird, Shiffle and Monstarlab all came up with credible tech-based solutions that support gig workers to earn a living wage. To build on this programme the Living Wage Foundation is now working with more platforms to understand how to calculate a living wage in this context.

Another issue highlighted by the Resolution Foundation’s report, Low Pay Britain 2022, is the issue of living hours. While the introduction of the minimum wage and the real Living Wage has greatly reduced the incidence of low pay in the UK, 19% of low-paid workers want more hours in order to reach a better standard of living and many others face highly unpredictable rotas. To tackle this, the Living Wage Foundation is trialing a living hours employer accreditation where employees are guaranteed at least 16 hours a week, with 4 weeks notice of shift patterns.

We’re proud to say that all our WorkerTech portfolio companies pay the real Living Wage to both their direct employees and any workers that might be paid through their product. Do you know of any other WorkerTech ideas that bring the real Living Wage to low-paid workers? Get in touch! 

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

  • Blowing the budget – this analysis finds that the newly announced £45 billion tax cuts will disproportionately benefit the top 5% of earners in the UK, and households living in London or the South East. These measures are likely to boost growth in the short-term, but rely heavily on economic good fortune beyond the government’s control in the medium and long term.
  • Housing outlook Q3 2022 – with 4.4 million private renting households in the UK, this housing outlook looks at the impact of rising rents across new and existing tenancies for low and middle income households. It also finds that private renters get 20% less floor space for their money compared to 20 years ago, and around two thirds of private renters live in homes with an EPC rating of D or below.
  • A blank cheque – an analysis of the new cap on energy prices announced earlier this month. More than one in ten households will gain over £2000 from the new measures, with the total package of support being broadly equal across the income distribution in cash terms.

WorkerTech stories

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change published A Fair Deal for All: Delivering flexibility and protections for a modern workforce highlighting the need for reform in employment regulation given the move towards flexible platform work. The report recommends a new set of employment rights that reflect the needs and rights of a flexible workforce, an enforcement body to regulate and advise employers, and a better understanding of how employment rights interact with the welfare and tax systems.

Sifted has put together a helpful guide to the mini-budget and what it means for start-ups. From raising the S/EIS cap, to increasing stock option allowances, there are all kinds of incentives for investors to back riskier early stage companies.

Social investment in the UK has increased 10 fold in the past 10 years, according to Big Society Capital. This type of investment can have real impact on reducing inequality, with 60% of BSC’s investments going to the UK’s most deprived communities. While BSC’s portfolio covers a range of social issues, it’s great to see investments into funds that back tech for low-paid workers, such as Fair By Design.

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