Pret A Manger warns of Brexit recruitment crisis

Only one in 50 job applicants comes from a Briton, says sandwich store

Pret a Manger
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Andrea Wareham, head of human resources at the sandwich chain, told the House of Lords economic affairs committee that only one in 50 applicants for vacancies is British.

She added: "If I had to fill all our vacancies in British-only applicants I would not be able to fill them... because of a lack of applications."

Lord Darling, a former chancellor, asked whether the issue was to do with wages, but Wareham denied higher pay would encourage more applicants, saying the issue was one of perception, says the London Evening Standard.

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"I actually don’t think increasing pay would do the trick," she said. "I can only talk for Pret on this, but we do pay well above the national living wage, we do have great benefits and we offer fantastic careers.

"It really is a case of do people want to work in our industry? We are not seen always as a desirable place to work and I think that's the trick."

Pret pays workers in London and other major cities an £8.50 per hour starting rate, which is well above the legal minimum pay rate but below the £9.75 voluntary living wage. It also offers £100 bonuses based on customer satisfaction and says pay progression can be rapid.

The starting package of £16,000 a year can become "really good money ", said Wareham, citing pay, including bonuses, rising to £40,000 to £45,000 "within a few years", says The Guardian.

Pret employs people from 110 nationalities, with 65 per cent of its workforce coming from EU countries other than the UK. Only 20 per cent of its workforce was born here, although that is up from 17 per cent last year.

"We are entirely accepting that the number of EU nationals will go down over time. We would love to increase the number of British nationals and we are excited about this," Wareham said.

"It takes a long time to change hearts and minds. We need to work with education, career services, with parents, to find ways to collaborate."

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