Research finds Britons earn more than other EU staff at restaurants


New data from luxury hospitality recruiter The Change Group has revealed differences in salaries in London’s top restaurants depending on nationality.

It shows British employees are earning on average 18% more than those from other EU countries and 20% more than people from non-EU countries. At an average of just over £34,000 per year, only German workers earn more than their British counterparts.

With an average salary that is 41% lower than their British co-workers, employees from the Czech Republic have the lowest-paying hospitality jobs in London at £21,727 per year followed by those from Latvia (£24,200) and from Romania (£24,638).

The top 10 highest paid nationalities in London restaurants (with percentage difference to UK nationals
Germany: £34,071 (+5.7%)
UK: £32,207
South Africa: £31,583 (-1.9%)
Australia: £30,824 (-4.3%)
Ireland: £30,462 (-5.4%)
France: £29,675 (-7.9%)
India: £29,639 (-8.0%)
Spain: £27,436 (-14.8%)
Slovakia: £27,391 (-15.0%)
Italy: £27,157 (-15.7%)

A more detailed analysis of what the most experienced hospitality workers from different countries earn in London reveals a similar picture. Across the board, on average, British general managers, sous chefs, head chefs and chefs de partie are generally earning more than their counterparts from Europe and the rest of the world.

General manager
Rest of the world: £37,971 (+0.3%)
UK: £37,870
EU: £37,027 (-2.2%)

Head chef
UK: £37,296
Rest of world: £35,719 (-4.2%)
EU: £34,412 (-7.7%)

Sous chef
UK: £28,863
EU: £28,046 (-2.8%)
Rest of world: £27,063 (-6.2%)

Chef de partie
UK: £24,068
Rest of world: £23,261 (-3.4%)
EU: £23,242 (-3.4%)

The data also revealed that over half of people looking for restaurant work in London are from the EU (55%). Around a third of applicants are British (35%) and a quarter from non-EU countries (10%).

The analysis is based on 1,982 registrations at The Change Group between January and August 2016 by experienced people applying to work at top London restaurants.

Craig Allen, founder and director of The Change Group, said: “London restaurants are very diverse places with people from all over the world working together to deliver some of the best cooking and service on the planet.

“However our data suggests there is a discrepancy in terms of the salary expectation with employees from certain nationalities more regularly taking lower paid and generally less skilled positions than those from other countries.

“This situation has significant implications for restaurants moving forwards depending on how the Brexit negotiations evolve around freedom of movement for EU workers. If there are fewer EU workers in the UK this could result in wage bills rising for London restaurants.

“We could also see a worsening battle for talent in London as Britons only make up a third of applicants for jobs in the top restaurants, despite the fact that they are some of the most highly paid workers.

“Whatever happens with Brexit, we strongly recommend that industry leaders, government and the education sector does more to encourage more British people to work in hospitality.”

In addition to the salary analysis, new data from The Change Group’s annual survey of people working in hospitality shows that schools are not actively encouraging pupils to consider a future in hospitality. This is despite the fact that hospitality is a growing sector, adding 28,000 jobs in the UK between 2015 and 2016, according to Office for National Statistics data.

Based on responses from 530 people working in and around London, only 11% said they learnt to cook at school and only 19% claimed to have learnt more broadly about food, nutrition and diet at school.

Just over half (52%) said they felt schools do not encourage young people to consider a career in hospitality – despite the fact that the majority (68%) agree that there is a high volume of jobs available in hospitality.

The research also showed that respondents were well qualified. When asked about their highest qualification, 37% said they have a degree, 18% have a NVQ and 12% finished school with A levels. Over half of all respondents (55%) said they learnt to cook at culinary college and therefore have formal training.

However, far from falling into hospitality “by accident” or because they could not get graduate work, a large number (46%) said they had always wanted to work in hospitality because they are “passionate about food”.

Greg Rosser, general manager at The Lighterman dining room and bar in Granary Square at King’s Cross in London, said: “The hospitality industry should be treated as a valid career choice. My school recently invited speakers back to discuss careers with their students and I was told I could only attend if I had a degree.

“This is totally the wrong approach – hospitality can give you a great standard of living and amazing opportunities and this should be said to young people to encourage them to enter what is an exciting, growing industry.”

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