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Star Pubs & Bars offers advice on staff recruitment and retention

The situation may appear to be out of licensees’ control, however, there are many steps and actions pub and bar owners can take to ensure the right people choose the sector as a long-term and viable career.

Immediate steps for pub and bar owners to help attract new talent and retain existing star performers include flexible hours, bonuses, guaranteed days off and other working perks. However, like in many other industries, providing existing team members with training and upskilling opportunities not only helps to develop their confidence and skillset, but it also reinvigorates their sense of purpose and generates pride through learned expertise within hospitality.

Star Pubs & Bars, through its Stars of the Future masterclass series, recently upskilled 10 high-achieving members of pub staff with a spirits and cocktails training day in London. Provided for free and in association with Pernod Ricard, delegates learnt the theory and practical skills needed to make profitable spirits and cocktail serves within their venues.

This is important as sales of spirits and cocktails are on the rise, generating over £1.7bn of on trade revenue in the 12 weeks to 26th​ March 2022, becoming the best-performing category since the end of the pandemic ​(CGA OPMS, 12 weeks to 26th​ Feb 2022 vs 2020). Further Stars of the Future events will take place this year. For more information email StarsoftheFuture@cirkle.com​.

Beyond upskilling existing team members, licensees can tap into new generation workers to build a valuable, flexible and cost-efficient workforce. Young people in school and college actively seek employment by applying speculatively, which reduces job advertising spend for pubs. Licensees can take a more active, but still budget-friendly approach, to job advertising by working with schools, colleges and universities to promote any vacancies on e-newsletters or bulletin boards.

Meanwhile, 16-18-year-olds can be employed as food runners, glass collectors or kitchen assistants, although restrictions do apply and licensees should ensure they check employment law prior. Importantly, young people can also be more flexible with the hours they are available to work and can often work shifts around classes and lectures.

Licensees can utilise Government-backed resources such as apprenticeship schemes, with the Government funding 100% of apprenticeships for 16-18-year-olds and 95% for those over 18. Apprenticeships provide valuable formal training and qualifications for pub staff. They also instil apprentices with pride in their profession.

But it is important to remember that apprenticeships are not only for younger people coming out of fulltime education. They can also be used to upskill any existing staff members to provide them with useful qualifications and to help them progress within their pub career.

As an employer, the Government provides pubs with £1,000 for employing apprentices aged between 16-18. In terms of qualifications, a level Two apprenticeship is the equivalent of a GCSE, while a level Four is the equivalent of an A level and a level Five is the equivalent of foundation degree. For additional information on apprenticeships, contact your Business Development Manager.

So, while the employment landscape may currently be buoyant with job opportunities, there are abundant chances out there for pubs to attract and retain the right people and personalities to their businesses.