Almost 2,000 employees at the University of Oxford will get a pay rise as the University announced today it will pay the Oxford Living Wage (OLW).

Staff at the city’s largest employer 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.

T he University employs around 17,000 people across the city, and in 2009 Oxford City Council introduced an Oxford Living Wage, set at 95% of the London Living Wage, in recognition of the high cost of living in the city. 

The estimated five-year cost of implementing the Oxford Living Wage for University staff is £5.5 million, and the implementation will affect 8.2% of University employees and 6% of casuals.

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.

Analysis indicates that a greater proportion of women (55%) than men (45%) will benefit from this move by the University. This does not include college, who employ workers separately. Some colleges already pay the Oxford Living Wage, including St Cross College and Campion Hall. 

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice Chancellor for People and Gardens, Libraries and Museums, said “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.”  

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of the City Council, said: “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.”

The Oxford Living Wage is currently £10.02 an hour and will rise to £10.21 in April 2020.

Lois Heslop

Lois Heslop is the co-founder of The Oxford Blue and was Editor-in-Chief for HT20 and TT20. She is in her second year studying Physics at Lady Margaret Hall, and hails from South London. Her other interests include classical music and opera, and she is currently a choral scholar.