The UK pubs and bars industry employed 297,600 people in 2006, a figure that has gradually fallen from its peak of 383,100 bar and pub jobs in 2000, but it remains the second largest employer in the hospitality industry after restaurants.
However the nature of employment in UK pubs and bars has changed inordinately with the introduction of the smoking ban in the UK changing the business models of operators towards a food-centric offering. Today skilled pub chefs are in high demand by pub groups as they look to boost the quality of their menus.
The smoking ban has also made pub jobs more appealing. With employees no longer exposed to a second-hand smoke intake equivalent to 190 cigarettes a year, pubs are targeting graduates through specific vocational education as well as targeting people from outside the industry.
As pubs change their offerings to incorporate more food and wine, making themselves female and family friendly, staff will have to broaden their skills base.
However the number of pubs in the UK is declining as the smoking ban hits home and pub staff levels have dropped off over the past five years significantly but staff with skills will remain in great demand.
The pub industry is one of the eight largest employment sectors to rely on national minimum wage employees while recent survey found that 40% of pub groups were employing migrant workers.
The British Institute of Innkeeping is the professional body for the licensed trade offering training, qualifications and advice for pub and bar employees.