Case Studies & Blogs

Our case studies are based on interviews with workers across Scotland. We also have a blog from a worker who earns less than the Living Wage.

Their experiences ground the importance of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign and inform wider policy issues relating to low pay, poverty and social exclusion in Scotland:


My name is Emily, I’m in my thirties and I work as a Customer Service Advisor in a call centre.  I was to tell you a bit about myself as someone who earns less than the Living Wage. I hope my blog will be of interest, whether you can relate to this as someone who is on a lower income, or to help you to understand what life can be like for people who are in work but earn less than the Living Wage"... More>

"I dont go about saying I'm poor and I work with people who are in much more difficult circumstances than me, but it is hard."

*Steven is 44 years old, working in the retail sector. He has a partner and a two and a half year old daughter. Like many families, having a child has had an impact on their income. "My partners work committments were tied and she's really good at her job, so we decided that I would be primary carer for our daughter." Steven was forced to drop to 20 hours per week, losing his supervisory role as a result. "My rate dropped from £7.04 to £6.08. This combined with the cut in hours meant I was earning around £400 less per month. The family dont qualify for housing benefit however, "we're on the cusp when it comes to other benefits apparently which is really frustrating"... More>

"It's got to be better than the 'minimum wage'. Who can actually live on the 'minimum' - I'm pretty sure that the people who came up with those figures aren't"

*Sarah is 28 and is employed in catering/bar work. When she first started she was earning £5.73 on a zero hour contract. The company she works for has now been was taken over by Cordia (Services) through Glasgow City Council however which means her rate of pay has increased to a living wage. Whilst clearly pleased with the rate increase, having a set hourly contract and wider terms and conditions are benefits that she really values "I didn't know from one week to the next how many hours, if any, I was going to be getting. Now I know I'm getting 35 hours I can work my money better. We get sick pay and we're also entitled to 28 days holiday a year."... More>

"I get paid just over £100 a week after tax which is nothing really in the 'real world'. Things like being able to afford my own flat, driving lessons, a car or buying clothes without worrying... that would be a dream!"

*Amy is 23. She works in retail, earning £6.30 per hour. "People tend to think you're only working in a shop so just standing about not doing much but you still have to go into work every day and do a job. People working in other customer type jobs get a higher hourly rate". She studied a vocational course at college which was laced with promises of exciting job prospects. The reality has been very different however, "the chances of getting a job from the course I did are very slim unless you have money behind you and able to move to London or somewhere". As it stands she now feels trapped. "The only experience I have now is is working in shops really. I'm kind of stuck ..." More>

*names have been changed