Ilkley firm SmartSearch named Living Wage employer

Anti-money laundering (AML) pioneers SmartSearch have become a Living Wage employer.

The voluntary commitment sees directly employed staff including casual workers over the age of 18; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75 in the UK; significantly higher than the national minimum wage for over 25s of £7.83 per hour.

The company, based in Ilkely near Leeds, employs 90 people, and has always put huge value on the welfare of its staff, as Martin Cheek, MD explains:

“We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our staff are happy and motivated, and part of that commitment is guaranteeing that everyone who works for us is paid well for what they do.

 “The Yorkshire and the Humber region has one of the highest proportions of non-Living Wage jobs in the country (24%), with over 502,000 jobs paying less than the real Living Wage.

“We hope that by committing to paying the real Living Wage, it might encourage other companies in the region to do the same.  In reality our average pay across the business excluding directors is 30% above the living wage”  

As SmartSearch already pays its staff well, the decision to sign up to The Living Wage was an easy one, and is the latest commitment SmartSearch has made to its staff. Last year when it became clear that SmartSearch’s growth meant it needed bigger offices, instead of just choosing a new base, the company’s directors engaged with all employees to discover what staff wanted from their workplace.

Following the inclusive process, the company moved to new headquarters at Mayfield House, on Lower Railway Road in Ilkley. The brand new, purpose built offices have enough room for the company’s 90 staff to eventually grow to 250 as well as dedicated spaces for social interaction.

The ground floor has a social hub for staff to work and play in a relaxed atmosphere and includes a quiet lounge and a games area with game consoles, a pool table and table football. 

The kitchen is all built around a central island and there are a range of different styles of meetings rooms and break out areas including high back acoustic sofas and railway carriage ‘pods’. SmartSearch has also installed a fully equipped gym. 

Martin Cheek, said:Our staff are integral to the success of the business, and we are continually looking to invest in them, whether that is through training and development, creating a workplace that will inspire them, or by committing to paying above the Living Wage.

“Ultimately, we want to attract and retain talent and push our business even further forward, and we know the way to achieve that is to invest in and value staff.”

Tess Lanning, Director, Living Wage Foundation said:We’re delighted that SmartSearch has joined the movement of over 4,000 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 IKEA, Heathrow Airport, Barclays, Chelsea and Everton Football Clubs and many more. These businesses recognize that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like SmartSearch, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay."

Martin Cheek
by Martin Cheek

Managing Director

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