Foreign nationals make up 43% of UK hospitality's workforce

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Foreign nationals make up 43% of UK hospitality's workforce

Related tags: Cent, Minimum wage

Currently more than two-­fifths (43 per cent) of workers in the restaurant, QSR, hotel and pub sectors in the UK are foreign nationals, according to latest figures from Fourth Analytics.

The research, which was based on a sample comprising 25,000 employees, graphically illustrates the impact a ‘hard’ Brexit would have – if Britain’s exit from the European Union served to limit hospitality businesses’ ability to recruit non-­UK nationals. 

The numbers spike dramatically for restaurants, with 57 per cent of workers originating from outside of the UK; split 51 per cent for front-­of-­house and a significant 71 per cent – for the kitchen and back­-of-­house roles, writes BigHospitality's sister publication MCA Insight​.

The study also revealed:

  • The average length of tenure hospitality workers spend at a business is 12 months.
  • Back-of-house employees take an average of 9.5 sick days a year – up from 8.5 in 2015.
  • Front-of-house employees take an average of 6.9 sick days a year. 
  • The gender split front-of-house in the hospitality industry is 41 per cent male, 59 per cent female. 
  • The gender split back-of-house in the hospitality industry is 58 per cent male, 42 per cent female. 
  • 86 per cent of hospitality workers are paid by the hour. The average hourly pay of hospitality workers is £7.71 – 51p higher than the National Living Wage. 
  • The average ages of hospitality workers, split by sector, are: hotels, 35.5; QSR, 30; restaurant, 29.8; pubs, 28.6.
  • Back-of-house employees work an average of 34 hours a week – 12 hours more than front-of-house employees, where part-­time work is more prevalent. 
  • 9 per cent of back-of-house employees are under 21, compared to 20 per cent for front-of-house.

Mike Shipley, analytics & insight solutions director at Fourth, said: “These figures clearly demonstrate how heavily reliant hospitality is on foreign nationals, especially in the restaurant sector, and especially back of house.

“As we know, there is already a battle for talent, with companies working extremely hard to attract, retain and engage staff. It’s an issue that is exacerbated in restaurant kitchens and it’s driving up wage levels well beyond legislative thresholds, such as the national minimum wage. With Brexit uncertainty looming over the industry, the sooner the Government can deliver clarity and reassurance, the better.”

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