Manchester Airports Group formally accredited as a Real Living Wage employer

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has been officially accredited as a Real Living Wage employer.

The accreditation – from the Living Wage Foundation - recognises the UK’s largest airports group’s ongoing commitment to ensuring all colleagues receive an income that covers the cost of living in real terms.

MAG, which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, alongside its air travel services business, CAVU, has been paying its colleagues the Real Living Wage since September 2022. The announcement of the accreditation formalises MAG’s commitment not only to meeting the current level, but also to matching future increases.

The UK Real Living Wage is announced each year and is independently calculated. It pays colleagues at a level which ensures that their guaranteed income genuinely covers the cost of living. The Real Living Wage is calculated based on the price of a basket of goods and services that are required to meet every day needs such as food, housing and childcare.

The accreditation is recognition of the fact that all 7,000 people directly employed by MAG will now, and in the future continue to receive at least the Real Living Wage.  Accreditation also recognises that MAG is working with businesses that provide on-site services on its behalf, for example cleaning, also pay their staff the Real Living Wage.  

The Group’s accreditation was marked at a ceremony held by Manchester City Council, which is a major shareholder in MAG. At the event held at the People’s History Museum, Council Leader Bev Craig presented a plaque to MAG representatives.

The Real Living Wage accreditation forms one part of MAG’s Employment Charter and was a commitment made in MAG’s 2020 CSR Strategy, ‘Working together for a brighter future’. The Charter sets out key principles related to the Group’s role as an employer – creating a flexible and supportive work environment, promoting workplace wellness, giving colleagues a voice, continually improving the colleague experience, and offering secure work with fair pay for all.

The Charter also focuses on attracting and hiring diverse talent that reflects the communities surrounding the Group’s airports. Data on diversity is shared quarterly with MAG’s Executive Committee and Board to measure performance against targets such as 50% female leadership representation by 2033, 12% ethnic minority leadership representation by 2026 and 12% leadership representation of colleagues under 25 by 2025.

MAG CEO Ken O’Toole said:

“At MAG we take our responsibility to be a good employer very seriously, and that is why I am very proud to announce our accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer.

“Our colleagues are the lifeblood of our airports, and I am always struck by the exceptional work that goes on day in, day out right across all of our airport campuses.

“Becoming an accredited Real Living Wage employer is an important part of our ongoing commitment to excellent employment, alongside our plans to make MAG as equitable, diverse and inclusive as possible. It’s by delivering on this commitment that we’ll ensure we have the talent we need to grow our business, and local people will see the benefits of living near an airport because of the interesting and high-quality work that’s on offer.”

Cllr Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said:  

The Real Living Wage isn’t just a number – it's the amount someone needs to lead a life without poverty. We believe that earning fair pay for a fair day’s work is not just the right thing to do, but essential to the happiness and good mental health of our residents. 

“We have made a commitment to making Manchester a Living Wage City but this isn’t something we can do in isolation. We are working with a wide range of organisations who are on this journey with us and recognise the importance of paying their staff a wage that they not only deserve but need to live.  

“MAG are one such organisation who have understood the importance of this journey and it’s great to see them achieve their own Living Wage Employer accreditation this week – a true commitment to the well-being of their workforce.”