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EU hospitality applicants dropped by 8.5% in 2018

Registrations from European Union nationals looking to work in London’s restaurants, gastropubs and eateries went down by 8.5% in 2018 according to new data from luxury hospitality recruiter, The Change Group.

Meanwhile, there has been a 3.4% decline in the average annual take-home pay of British hospitality workers, while average salaries for EU employees in the industry increased by 8.5% in 2018.

Overall, the number of applicants applying for jobs through Change increased by 4.4% in 2017.

The data suggests the shortfall in EU applicants was absorbed by increases in the number of Britons and nationals from non-EU countries applying for jobs with the recruiter. While EU applicants still account for over 50% of the registrations, the number of Britons applying for hospitality work in London went up by almost 19%, while those from people originating from non-EU countries increased by just over 36%.

An analysis of average pay shows a levelling off of salaries across nationalities over the past two years, so there is now very little difference between what employees from the UK, the EU and other countries are paid.

At an average pay of £31,514, British hospitality workers in 2018 earned £429 more than those from the EU at £31,085, and £514 more than those from non-EU countries at £31,000.

This is in 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.

This levelling over the past 12 months has been caused by a decline in the average pay for UK workers of 3.4% or £1,100 and an 8.5% increase in pay for EU candidates, or £2,434. Salaries for employees from non-EU countries increased by an average of £1,072 or 3.6% in 2018 over the previous year.

The Change Group director, Jim O’Brien, said: “We can see much greater nationality 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. It is important that people from all countries can enjoy the same opportunities that Britons enjoy when working in hospitality in London.

“This data shows that Brexit is having a real impact on who is applying for jobs in London. We are delighted to see applications from the UK and other countries increase to make up the numbers. It is very heartening to see the overall number of registrations increase in the past year.”

He added: “However, the 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.”

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