27 May 2022

In the UK, 1.6 million workers do not get paid a living wage. New research has revealed that workers who do receive a living wage show improved physical and mental health, and that the benefits extend further to their employing organisation, family, and society.
Launch of educational game aims to raise number of living wage employers

This study, led by the University of Edinburgh Business School in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, shows that paying a living wage means that workers are more likely to be able to focus their effort on a sole employer. This in turn encourages upskilling, which results in easier upward mobility, better productivity, and improved job satisfaction.

Enhanced satisfaction in the workplace also correlates to employees taking fewer sick days and also increased employee retention levels. Improvements are also ultimately reaped at a governmental level too, because as an individual's health and skills improve, they create less demand for welfare support.

To encourage more employers to pay a living wage, our researchers worked alongside the European Association of Work and Organisational Pyschology (EAWOP) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to design and launch an online interactive educational game titled 'SuperbMarket'. The game explores the connections between job quality and employee identity, organisational commitment, fairness, and trust.

"We developed SuperbMarket as a way of understanding how events that happen in the workplace can have important implications for individual workers, their line managers, the human resource teams, and the organisations", said Dr Ishbel McWha-Hermann, a Lecturer in International Human Resource Management, and co-author of the study.

"The events in the game might seem insignificant when they occur, but over time they can accumulate to create far bigger outcomes and consequences that extend beyond the organisation into families and society. The game also explores the concept of decent work and how it shifts the balance of cost and benefits in ways that are not currently sufficiently recognised."

SuperbMarket follows four characters centred around a particular business, with players able to decide on a step-by-step approach on the conditions to provide for staff. The game then takes players through the consequences their decisions have on the individuals and the business itself. Through these decisions, players gain an insight into the broader impact of their choices for their workplaces and the world beyond.

The game can be accessed online at the following link: