London is expensive. On average, a room in a sharehouse will set you back £700 per month. And when salaries for entry-level roles in agencies are around £25k p/a, I can tell you from experience that the numbers just don't add up.
I remember what it was like trying to get by on a graduate's salary in an agency whilst living in London. I was constantly in my overdraft, transferring myself spending money week-by-week so I didn't get into more debt. Everyone I knew starting out was in a similar boat, and it was tricky navigating what we could afford to do and how to plan for the future (including how to repay a ton of university debt).
At Planes, we have the power to change that. We've introduced a minimum salary policy of £35k p/a for every role in every practice, and that means operations too. That means if you're joining us at entry-level, £35k is the minimum you can expect.
This move is about much more than giving people a bit of extra cash to spend at the weekend or to save for a rainy day.
We believe that paying everyone fairly – taking into account the industry, the market and the city you live in – will not only help build a more inclusive workforce but a happier one too. Here's why.
When looking for entry-level positions, people often dismiss agency or creative roles for purely financial reasons. There are a lot of unpaid internships or lowball starting salaries out there, which are simply not an option for some due to the cost of living in London.
By removing the financial barrier of entry and making our graduate-level roles more appealing, we're on a mission to increase diversity within our industry.
Deciding to switch up your career shouldn't mean starting from scratch. Skills can be taught, and the valuable experience you've had already should be taken into account. Why should you take the hit financially?
At Planes, we think it's wicked to change lanes in your career. And to support that, we have a hiring process that considers your potential and life experience, as well as transferable skills from your previous role.
Another step we've found really effective is paying for our interview take-home tasks. We ask for a couple of hours of people's time, and it seems only fair to pay for that. We also offer the chance to submit work you've already completed if a take-home task isn't viable. We hope by doing this, we open up our hiring process to a wider network that doesn't exclude anyone from the process.
We believe that by making sure our team is paid fairly, we will not only have a more diverse team but a happier one.
As well as putting a minimum salary band in place, we also have open and transparent salary bandings and a pay review outside our personal review cycles. This is where we take into account market trends to make sure we're matching the industry standard.
We're really lucky to be in a position to put these policies in place, and we believe that more organisations in our industry should review their salaries - or at least make them more transparent - to remove those financial barriers.
We also champion flexible working, so if our team decides not to live in London – for financial reasons or otherwise – they're still just as much part of the team as the rest of us.
These are just some of the steps we're taking in our mission to build a culture of transparency around a diverse team that looks forward to Monday.
If you're looking for an entry-level role or want to chat about some of our people-first policies, I'd love to hear from you. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.