Trade Opinion: How wage transparency can boost hiring and staff retention

Wage packets have been thrust into sharp focus in the bike industry with a mechanic’s wages in particular shown by CI.N’s research to be stagnating. With inflation looking likely to near 5% we explore the subject of committing to offering a Living Wage…

With wages a continuing to be a controversial topic within the cycling industry, the question surrounding the importance of offering a Living Wage to employees remains at the forefront of many discussions. To what degree does committing to such a thing boost staff morale and help retention of good workers? Does being up front about pay during recruitment drives boost applicant rates?

A person’s financial situation has long been somewhat of a taboo subject in British culture, leading to many people feeling uncomfortable when it comes to discussing wages or annual salary with employers and others alike.

Anthony Lau, Cyclehoop founder and the creator of Bike- hangar, tells CyclingIndustry.News that “talking openly about wages can be uncommon and often at a detriment to staff development and loyalty. This autumn we introduced pay bands to increase people’s understanding of the skill and pay opportunities associated with each role in our organisation and to promote a culture of transparency.”

Earlier this year, Halfords became one of the first UK listed retailers to replace locked monthly pay with flexible pay in a bid to increase the financial wellbeing of its employees.

Last year saw the retail giant set up a ‘Here to Help’ fund, providing emergency financial support to colleagues when Covid-19 lockdowns led to uncertainty and financial stress.

Team members from 750 locations across the country will now have access to charity-backed platform Wagestream – which provides financial budgeting, savings and education through an app, built around a flexible pay cycle.

Wagestream is part-owned by the UK’s leading financial charities and impact funds – including Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Big Society Capital, Social Tech Trust, Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Fair By Design Fund. Employers who use Wagestream include Bupa, the NHS, David Lloyd and more.

A recent study revealed that locked monthly pay has become a hidden ‘debt trap’ for working adults and called on employers to roll out flexible pay (EWA) and financial wellbeing policies. EWA sees employers offering flexible access to wages, earned and owed throughout the month.

Findings in the study concluded:

*  Stress decreases, for 77% of colleagues with flexible pay Financial confidence improves, with

*  72% feeling more in control Budgeting improves, for 55%; only 2% struggle to adjust

*  Savings behaviours improve, and existing debt cycles begin to recede

*  Workers prefer it: 89% say flexible pay is better than any alternative

*  Quality of life increases for 72%, outperforming benchmarks on financial inclusion

A recent LinkedIn discussion asked the question ‘should salary be in the job description?’, and whilst some people claimed that topics of salary and wage should be reserved for confidential discussions between MD’s and HR departments, many claimed that they would not even consider applying for a job if the wage was not mentioned – comparing it to applying for a job without an applicant referencing their work experience.

Additionally, when it comes to increasing applications for job roles, we have seen a lot of discussions in the USA mostly about how paying a proper wage can increase the number of applications that employers receive.

“Offering a living wage increases your application rate and the quality of applications you receive”, says Lau. “When your business is based in a competitive city like London, the living wage is essential – as is offering perks that align with our mission, we take our team mountain biking in the Surrey Hills for fresh air and to ‘Send it!’.”

Offering a living wage also aids in improving employee moral, according to Lau. He says, “It is good to know that no matter your teammate’s level of responsibility or skill, they are being taken care of at a fundamental level and that understanding contributes to the air of optimism around our organisation.”

As the bike industry continues to experience exponential growth as a result of a push towards greener transport methods, and as many bike shops look to fill much needed positions, an important question to consider is whether or not the bike industry is responsible for driving up conditions for workers and thus, keeping up with the demand in order to see the industry succeed.

Lau adds, “I think if you are in the position where you can create better working conditions, yes, you have a responsibility to do so. However, obligation is not a good incentive! Instead, I simply recommend leaders in our industry do it for the positive impact it has on their team; productivity and moral.”

Need to recruit?

Cycling Industry News’ website is put to use by over 1 million unique visitors annually with a heavy flow of highly skilled trade professionals making up the bulk of that audience.

Our recruitment board – found at – is one of the most visited pages on our soon to be redeveloped and relaunched website.

Editor Mark Sutton says of adverts that have a higher hit rate: “Recruiting the right staff will determine the performance of one area of your business most likely for years to come and so it’s an investment that will directly influence your bottom line. In an economy where the jobs market is more fluid than ever it is our observation that adverts that show a mutual respect for the candidate are the most viewed and well received. Adverts that come across one-sided and do not treat the potential applicant with the respect their hard-earned skills deserve are less connected with. If it is feasible to do so, inclusion of a salary is a minimum, even if a ballpark range is given. Other recommendations include the working hours, location of the role, additional benefits and annual leave.”

To place a job role for as little as £100 on our website, contact us by email here.

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