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Our People

Wetherspoon has been recognised by the Top Employers Institute as a ‘Top Employer United Kingdom’ for 17 consecutive years, including 2020.

Attracting and retaining talent

As at the end of our financial year 2018/19, we employed over 43,000 people in our pubs and hotels, in regional roles and at our head office in Watford (Hertfordshire).

In the Republic of Ireland, over 500 people were employed.

During the year, we created over 2,500 new jobs, most of which are within the local communities of our pubs across the UK and Ireland.

The company does not employ anyone below either 16 years of age or the recognised school-leaving age.

Of our staff, 59% are aged 25 years or under; therefore, for many, this is their first experience of working. Numerous people join the company from the NEET population (not in employment, education or training) and can start with limited basic skills and confidence.

Many of our employees have chosen to spend their career with us and progressed through the company.

The average length of service for a pub manager is 12 years – with 22% of hourly paid employees having been with us for over three years.

All staff are directly employed by the company, with the exception of a few head-office contractors, involved in specific project work.

Of our hourly paid staff, 96% are employed on a guaranteed-hours contract. A minority of employees prefers the flexibility of a contract with no minimum hours. Where these contracts are used, there is no sole-employer restriction, no obligation on employees to accept the hours offered to them and they receive exactly the same benefits as those on a guaranteed-hours contract.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Wetherspoon is committed to equality of opportunity. We want to create and promote a diverse and inclusive working environment and eliminate any direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation of our employees, job applicants, customers and contractors. We strive to maintain a working environment, terms and conditions of employment and personnel and management practices which ensure that no individual receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of his/her age, disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity.

A ‘Women @ Wetherspoon’ network has been established to support the development of new and existing female managers in the company, especially at a senior level, including a dedicated training and coaching programme.

The breakdown, by gender, across the company is as follows:

  • 52% female and 48% male
  • senior manager level – 39% female and 61% male
  • board level – 37.5% female and 62.5% male

For the Gender Pay Report  2020 – click here

The company does not gather information on the ethnicity of employees.

The company has been recognised as an Age Positive and Disability Confident employer by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Anti-harassment, sexual harassment or bullying

Harassment is not permitted or condoned in the work environment under any circumstances.

Everyone must be treated fairly and is entitled to work in an environment free from harassment, victimisation and bullying. This policy of no harassment applies to colleagues, customers, contractors and visitors.

Our anti-harassment policies for the UK (click here) and Ireland (click here) are available.

We train employees, from induction and by way of regular refresher training, that harassment, including third-party harassment (from customers and others), is not acceptable in the workplace.

We encourage those employees who believe that they are being harassed, under the terms of the policy, to speak up and report such behaviour to their line manager or to the personnel department. Alternatively, reports can be made directly to the whistleblowing e-mail address (click here).

Training and career opportunities

Our range of training courses helps to motivate our employees and to provide them with the necessary skills to carry out their job to a consistently high standard.

The company strives to provide a career, rather than just a job, with those showing promise given the opportunity to progress. The nature of our business means that the company attracts applicants with a range of skills and experience. We offer employees apprenticeships and training programmes throughout their career with the company.

Internal progression is our main source of appointing job roles throughout the company. All pub manager and area manager vacancies are filled by internal candidates.

In 2018/2019, we promoted over 600 hourly paid staff to management positions.


Our professional diploma in leisure retail management, run in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University, is offered to pub managers and head-office management, allowing them to gain a professional qualification, while working for the company.

An apprenticeship programme was launched in January 2018, offering five qualifications:

  • Level 2 Hospitality Team Member (GCSE equivalent)
  • Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor Bar (A level equivalent)
  • Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor Kitchen (A level equivalent)
  • Level 4 Hospitality Management Food & Beverage (foundation degree equivalent)
  • BA (Hons) Chartered Manager Business Degree Level 6 Apprenticeship – in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University

The apprenticeship programme develops specific skills, as well as improves English and maths, through functional skills training. Currently, 97% of all apprentices are undergoing an English or maths qualification as part of their apprenticeship, while 634 employees have completed a ‘functional skills aim’ in the last 12 months.

In September 2019, the total number of employees undertaking an apprenticeship was 717, of which 56% are undergoing level 2, 41% level 3 and 3% level 4.

Pay and reward

We offer fair and competitive rates of pay and benefits to our staff, including a bonus scheme to all employees.

Pay rates for all employees are above the relevant National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

In addition to basic pay, all employees are eligible for a company bonus scheme, paid monthly to pub-based staff and bi-yearly to head-office-based staff.

In FY19, the company paid £46m in respect of bonuses and free shares to employees, which is 57% of our profit after tax. Of the amounts paid, 98% was to staff below board level and 86% to staff working in our pubs.

Since FY05, we have paid around £418m of bonuses and free shares, which is 50% of the total profit after tax for that period (£843m).

All employees with more than 18 months’ service are eligible to join the Share Incentive Plan (SIP)[1] and receive free shares in J D Wetherspoon plc, giving them the opportunity to benefit from the company’s future success. Employees can also, under the Partnership Shares Scheme, choose to purchase additional shares in the company.

In total, since 2004, Wetherspoon has purchased and awarded 14.9 million shares to employees – 14.2% of the company’s share capital today.

In addition, approximately 15% of the company’s shares were allocated to employees under ‘share option’ schemes which operated before 2004.

At the end of the financial year (July 2019), Wetherspoon had 41,899 employees, of which nearly 13,000 were shareholders in the company. The average shareholding is 230 shares.

All employees working a shift of six hours or longer are offered a free meal and a drink.

All employees also receive a staff discount which may be used on and off duty, across our pubs and hotels.

To reward loyalty, additional paid leave is awarded to all employees on completion of five, 10, 15 and 20 years’ continuous service. Additional shares and company pension contributions are awarded to all employees who achieve 25 years’ service and every five years thereafter.

Employees may retain any tips which they receive. The company does not impose any management charges.

Employee engagement

We believe that some of the very best ideas and feedback come from our employees, especially those serving our customers every day.

All employees are encouraged to participate actively in the business strategy, including:

  • a ‘Tell Tim’ suggestion scheme for all employees. This generates over 200 ideas a week, all of which are reviewed and responded to by directors. Some of the suggestions received are for new products, while others are for small (or sometimes big) improvements to our myriad ways of working; some others are just challenging the status quo about any aspect of working for the company.
  • a selection of pub managers, area managers and other pub employees being invited to attend and contribute to weekly operations meetings at head office, hosted by the chairman or chief executive. The minutes are sent to all pubs, with employees encouraged to add their comments to the discussions and debates.
  • regular liaison meetings with employees, at all levels, to gain feedback on aspects of the business and ideas for improvement.
  • directors and senior management completing regular pub visits – and pub employees visiting head office.
  • directors, senior management and area managers regularly working in all areas of pubs’ operations, including the kitchen, bar and hotels.
  • a weekly e-mail from the chief executive to all employees.
  • a dedicated employee website:

While some employees are members of a union or representative body, the company does not recognise any union for the purposes of collective bargaining.

The company respects employees’ rights to freedom of association.

Employees’ health and well-being

We support the well-being of our employees on a wide range of physical and mental health issues, including those raised at the recruitment stage. Wetherspoon seeks to make those necessary adjustments reasonably required to help our employees to maintain employment and to ensure that they are not harmed by their work.

The company is committed, at all times, to supporting positive mental health in the workplace and assisting our employees, wherever possible, with mental health problems. Our aim is always to encourage positive mental well-being and health in the workplace (and outside of work) – an important part of the company’s commitment to being a Top Employer.

The range of support available to all employees is detailed in the Mental Health Policy and includes a Wellbeing Checklist, a Wellness Recovery Action Plan and confidential external counselling for all employees through the Licensed Trade Association.

Several managers are trained in Mental Health First Aid and are able to offer further support and guidance to line managers and employees, as required.

In addition, any employee can apply to the independent welfare committee for additional financial, pastoral or occupational health support. All requests are considered and responded to weekly.

We offer a range of flexible working arrangements and hours to support employees in different stages of their career and life.

Published: November 2019

[1] An equivalent scheme is offered to employees employed in the Republic of Ireland.