Living Wage Employer Case Study: Standard Life Aberdeen Plc

29 October 2018

Standard Life is a long term investment savings business, dedicated to helping to build a more prosperous world. It employs over 5,000 people in the UK and all its employees receive as a minimum the UK Living Wage. Standard Life first introduced the UK Living Wage in April 2012 to demonstrate its commitment to its Sustainability Strategy, before receiving formal accreditation as a Living Wage employer in 2014. It has worked to ensure that all people providing contracted services on its premises, such as catering, cleaning and security, are paid at least the UK Living wage. Standard Life has also extended its UK Living Wage policy to include all school leavers and graduates on its intern programmes.

  • Edinburgh Guarantee – 6 month programme to help school leavers gain a foothold in the workplace that Standard Life has now extended to its Glasgow and London offices
  • Graduate Internships – summer programmes designed for those going into their final year of study to provide both practical experience and insight into Standard Life
  • Careers Academies – four week work experience and insight programme, supported by ongoing mentoring for two years.
  • Investment 2020  – 12-month trainee programme with Standard Life Investments, providing entry level experience into the world of asset management


In August 2015, Standard Life also became the first Living Wage Friendly Funder in the private sector, committing to ensure that any roles the company or the Standard Life Charitable Trust funds through grants to the charities it works with will also be paid the Living Wage as a minimum.


Sandy Begbie, Chief Operations Officer at Standard Life, says:

“By making a commitment to pay the UK Living Wage and to have no zero-hours contracts, we’re helping our people and supporting our wider community too. Being a UK Living Wage employer helps us attract high quality candidates who want to stay and we’re seeing a positive impact on our employee engagement and the overall quality of the work we do. This year we also extended our commitment to ensure that any charity positions we fund are also paid at the Living Wage. All of this is an important part of our strategy to be a sustainable business. We’re 



Employee: Lewis Mitchell (17), Procurement Team Member, Standard Life

School leaver Lewis Mitchell joined Standard Life as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee internship scheme which aims to help young people get a foot on the career ladder. He completed his six month internship with the premises services team and his contract has since been extended until the end of this year. Lewis lives in Dunfermline with his parents and this is the first paid work he has done.

Lewis says: “Since I started work with Standard Life as an intern with the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme, I’ve been earning the living wage. This is the first paid work I’ve done and it’s meant I’ve been able to cover the cost of my commute, which is a large chunk of my outgoings, and afford to pay for driving lessons too. Earning more than the minimum wage is also helping me to save. At the moment I’m saving up for a car and I think I’m on track. I try to make sure I save enough each month for the car, if I save more, it’s a bit of a bonus. I’ve also joined the company pension scheme and I don’t think I would have done that if I was earning the minimum wage. I still live at home, but I’m contributing towards the bills and buying my own food now and other necessities.

“The good thing about earning the living wage rather than the minimum wage is that it allows me to make decisions about my money and feel I’m achieving something, rather than every penny being accounted for just to get by.”


Employee: Dylan Smith (18), Customer Services Rep, Standard Life

Dylan started work at age 16 in the retail sector, while attending college to study sound production. He joined Standard Life in April this year as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme, working in the Customer Services team. A permanent vacancy then came up in the department, he applied and succeeded.

Dylan says: “I was on minimum wage when I worked in retail, so I can really appreciate the difference that earning the living wage makes. It’s helped me feel much more comfortable with life and I don’t feel I’m struggling any more. I’m saving up to get a deposit for a flat with my mates next year. And I’m saving for a holiday too. Being able to pay my own way instead of relying on parents, it’s brilliant.”


Employee: Cara Gilbert (17), Trainee Technical Consultant, Standard Life

Cara joined Standard Life as an intern in April 2014 as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee Scheme. She completed her internship and successfully applied for a role as Trainee Technical Consultant, Standard Life.

Cara says:When I first applied to be an intern, I expected to be on minimum wage, so it was really good to learn I was going to earn more than I had for the waitressing and admin jobs I’d done while I was at school. Earning the Living Wage has made a real difference to me. I’m lucky enough to be living with my sister in Edinburgh, so I don’t have a huge rent to pay. But on minimum wage, my parents would still have had to subsidise me, to help pay the train fares home to see them in Kilmarnock, for example. And I don’t think I would have been able to afford to go out much, as all my money would have gone on food and bills. It would have been much harder for me to stay in Edinburgh too. Being paid the Living Wage has meant I can pay my own way, stay in Edinburgh and make the most of the career opportunities offered by companies like Standard Life too.”