The ultimate Q&A – what will leaving the EU mean for employment and the pub sector?

We ask Jill Whittaker, managing director of industry training provider HIT Training, the big questions about what Brexit means for recruitment.


  • For an in-depth practical evaluation of how leaving the EU will affect each aspect of your business, watch out for this month’s issue of the magazine.




1. Should the pub industry be worried about losing employees post-Brexit? 

“The hospitality sector has always relied on workers from other countries. With the triggering of Article 50, the next couple of years are going to be quite uncertain and we may well find that EU citizens are reluctant to move to the UK. It’s also quite possible that those who do want to make the move or who are already here will be subject to increased restrictions.”


2. What can pubs do to prepare?

“The best way to meet the challenge of Brexit is head on, by up-skilling and cross-skilling your workforce. We have already introduced the Government’s new apprenticeship programmes, which have been designed to meet the individual needs of each employer and to address their specific requirements for competent and productive staff. [British Hospitality Association, The Agenda for 300,000 New Jobs, 2012-13]

“Targeted staff training can add 21 per cent to a business’ bottom line with a seven times payback on apprenticeship investment, according to the Government.”


3. Will there be any unexpected positives?

“The UK hospitality industry is vital for economic growth, especially in uncertain times. It is estimated that 300,000 new jobs will be created by 2020, clearly demonstrating that the industry continues to thrive, yet employers often struggle to recruit and retain the talent they need to push their business to the next level. If we’re not careful the situation will become untenable as the industry is growing faster than positions can be filled.”


4. What about the new apprenticeship levy?

“The term ‘apprentice’ has historically been associated with a young school leaver or a trade specific skills worker but this has all changed. The new apprenticeship scheme has a much broader context and provides pubs with the opportunity to develop their people at all levels within their organisation.

“While the Apprenticeship Levy will be mandatory, it’s up to individual operators if they want to take advantage of its benefits. If they don’t currently have an apprenticeship programme, they don’t have to introduce one but it would seem a waste not to make the most of a fund which can support staff recruitment, retention and development, creating financial efficiencies, improving performance and ultimately helping to drive profits – key factors in a fluctuating economy.”