Registrations for EU Applicants in Hospitality Falls

The number of registrations from EU nationals looking to work in London’s restaurants and food-led pubs fell 8.5% in 2018, according to a study by recruitment company The Change Group.

However, the number of Britons applying for the same jobs increased by almost 19%, while those from people originating from non-EU countries increased more than 36%. Meanwhile, there was a 3.4% decline in the average annual take-home pay of British hospitality workers in 2018 compared with average salaries for EU and non-EU employees in the industry, which increased 8.5% and 3.6% respectively.

Jim O’Brien, director The Change Group said it was encouraging that the shortfall was being absorbed by Britons and non-EU nationals, as “Brexit is having a real impact” on the number of people from the EU looking for work in the UK.

Total registrations over the past year also rose an encouraging 4.4%.

But despite this, the UK hospitality sector’s staffing situation “remains very difficult”.

“Many restaurants are still struggling to get the people they need to fill positions, often after many months of trying to recruit. It is vital in these final stages of negotiation that the government focuses on an immigration policy that will ensure free movement of talented, skilled employees from all parts of the world, to support vital industries such as hospitality,” O’Brien said.

This has led to a levelling off of salaries across nationalities. With an average pay of £31,514, British hospitality workers earned more in 2018 than those from the EU (£31,085) and non-EU countries (£31,000). This is in stark contrast to pay in 2017, when British workers earned on average £3,964 more than EU applicants and £2,687 more than those from other nationalities.

Jim O’Brien added: “We can see much greater diversity in who is taking senior roles at London’s top hospitality establishments. This accounts for much of the levelling out of salaries between employees from different nationalities in 2018, which we think is a good thing. However, the situation remains difficult. Many restaurants are still struggling to get the people they need to fill positions, often after many months of trying to recruit. It is vital in these final stages of Brexit negotiation the government focuses on an immigration policy that will ensure free movement of talented, skilled employees from all parts of the world.”