Belfast Telegraph

Pret A Manger 'to struggle post-Brexit due to lack of British job applicants'

Pret A Manger will struggle to staff its cafes after Brexit because just one in 50 job applicants is British, its director of human resources has suggested.

Andrea Wareham said the industry is not seen as desirable enough to attract a significant number of UK jobseekers.

Staff at the high-street chain come from 110 different nationalities, with 65% of those from outside the UK being EU citizens, she said on Wednesday.

" I would say that one in 50 people that apply to our company to work is British," she told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

"If I had to fill all our vacancies in British-only applicants I would not be able to fill them... because of a lack of applications."

The director said she doubted higher wages would draw UK citizens to the industry, after being questioned by Labour peer Lord Darling, who sits on the committee.

Ms Wareham said: "I actually don't think increasing pay would do the trick, I can only talk for Pret on this, but we do pay well above the National Living Wage, we do have great benefits and we offer fantastic careers.

"It really is a case of do people want to work in our industry?

"We are not seen always as a desirable place to work and I think that's the trick."

Her comments echo those of Brexit Secretary David Davis who said the door to the UK would not "suddenly shut" because it would take "years and years" to fill jobs in sectors that rely heavily on migrants, such as hospitality and social care.

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