Our Reasons for becoming a Living Wage employer

Aoife Hamilton




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CARD Group Research & Insight is a leading market and social research agency based in Belfast working globally with clients across the private, public and third sectors.

Established in 2003, the company has always been committed to maximising our positive social impact. Annually, we allocate 4% of pre-tax profits to charity either through donations, reduced rates for services or pro bono work and staff are encouraged to volunteer within their local community through paid time off work.

At the heart of our business is our team – from our operational staff and data analysts to our fieldwork interviewers. Each is critical to our success and each is valued for the unique contribution they make.

Why CARD Group Research & Insight decided to accredit as a Living Wage Employer

A key part of valuing our team means ensuring every member is rewarded with fair pay for fair work. We were already paying staff at least the real Living Wage but wanted to take the next step and make a public commitment to the Living Wage campaign, securing accreditation in 2023.

We are currently the only market research company in Northern Ireland to have done so. There were three main drivers behind our decision:

  • Benefits for our staff: Supporting the wellbeing of all our employees, and reducing financial stress, by ensuring they have a wage that meets their needs.
  • Benefits for our business: Enhancing our reputation, improving our recruitment prospects and helping to maintain high levels of staff motivation and productivity across our talented team.
  • Benefits for society: Promoting change across society by encouraging more companies to pay the Living Wage, helping to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect at work.

The process for accrediting was very straightforward, particularly as we were already paying staff at least the real Living Wage. We completed an online application form, and benefited from a lot of useful information on the Living Wage Foundation website.

The CARD Group Research & Insight team with Mary McManus
The CARD Group Research & Insight team with Mary McManus, Living Wage for East Belfast Campaign (centre)

Wider workplace developments alongside our Living Wage accreditation

CARD Group Research & Insight was already a life-friendly employer. Staff can benefit from fully flexible working arrangements that meet their wider needs and interests from day one. Whether working from home, scheduling their working hours around sessions at the gym or taking time out to volunteer – staff are supported to do so.

But we knew there was more we could do. Alongside securing our Living Wage accreditation we have embarked on a company-wide journey to embed health and wellbeing initiatives more fully into our day-to-day activities. We are developing a 3-year workplace health and wellbeing plan as part of the Work Well, Live Well initiative, accessing training for staff to become Health Champions and will be signing up to the Mental Health Charter workplace commitments.

We are also focusing more on our wider commitments to social value. We are incorporating social enterprises into our supply chain and working with a local charity to offer targeted work placements. We are also exploring opportunities for meaningful research to advance and champion the vital role of social enterprises within Northern Ireland.

Benefits of accreditation

CARD Group Research & Insight Chief Executive, Albert Hamilton said: “There are so many benefits to becoming a Living Wage employer. While we were already paying staff the real Living Wage, it was still a proud moment for our whole team when we received our formal accreditation. It reflects our ethos as an ethical company and an employer of choice where all staff can – rightly – expect to be treated with dignity and with respect. Looking ahead, we will be able to use our accreditation to enhance our recruitment processes and in business development, helping us to secure Government contracts and work with other socially minded enterprises.

“Through our accreditation we are also delighted to have connected with others working to promote payment of the Living Wage across Northern Ireland. Mary McManus, who is co-ordinating the Living Wage for East Belfast Campaign, is a powerful advocate for Living Wage accreditation. She clearly articulates not only the benefits for individuals and for businesses, but the wider societal and economic impact, including healthier and more vibrant communities. We were delighted to welcome Mary to CARD Group Research & Insight and are looking forward to working with her and the East Belfast Living Wage Action Group to promote accreditation.”

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about us, please browse our website, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin or email us at info@card-group.com.

About the author: Aoife Hamilton

As Director of Corporate Development at CARD Group Research & Insight, Aoife draws from more than a decade of experience in policy and social research gained predominantly in the charity and social enterprise sector. Aoife holds a BA (Oxon) in History and Politics and a CMI Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management.