Americans support firms that treat workers well, as long as they don't pay more

Would you pay more to buy from a company that treats its workers well?

A study has found that Americans largely support businesses that make an effort to treat their employees well, provided it doesn't hit them in the pocket.

In surveys conducted last year, the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of Americans said working conditions are important to them – 40 percent saying it's "somewhat important" and 13 percent "very important" – when deciding whether to shop somewhere or buy a product.

But that doesn't necessarily mean it's enough to make them push ahead with a purchase, particularly if it means spending extra.

Better treated workers might get better pay, benefits and general treatment by their employer, but only 28 percent of Americans say they often pay extra to support businesses who provide these better conditions.

A further 67 percent said they would like to pay more, but couldn't justify the extra cost.

A part of the reason why 46 percent of Americans who say how a company treats its workers has no bearing on their decision to make a purchase could be because it's difficult to find out how workers are treated.

Fewer than a quarter of those surveyed said it was easy to get accurate information about employee pay and working conditions at businesses they frequent.

Whether changes in the workplace are coming as a result of consumer choices remains to be seen, but The Atlantic reports that changes are happening because of the workers themselves.

The magazine writes that millennials entering the workplace are increasingly mindful of the philanthropic side of their potential employers, and it could in turn be forcing companies to offer more attractive packages in a bid to hire talented workers.

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