Regional brewers say applications for tenanted pubs have risen sharply since the start of the year — with increased redundancies cited as a reason.
Charles Wells Pub Company said the number of new applicants has jumped 51% year-on-year for the period from 1 January to 31 May.
Marketing manager Kate Hempsall said many applicants had been made redundant or were in jobs with no room for progression.
The firm's churn rate had remained at the same level as last year, while 23 new licensees had taken on tenancies.
Of those, five were already in the trade, one was a hotelier and a further two were already tenants or managers at the firm's other pubs. The remainder came from a wide range of backgrounds.
Hempsall said it was "great to get so many people from other industries with an entrepreneurial vision of running a pub".
Young's Pub Company retail director Patrick Dardis said: "There is certainly more interest. We're also getting a lot of hits on our website looking into training."
Dardis said the increase was to be expected in a recession as other businesses failed and people faced redundancy.
A Marston's Pub Company spokesman said: "We have seen a sharp rise in applications for tenanted pubs."
Shepherd Neame property and tenanted trade director George Barnes said: "Tenancy applications remain at a satisfactory level."
A spokesman for Fuller's said: "We have seen an increase in applications in the second quarter of the year compared to the first quarter, with varying degrees of experience."