Sandwich skills shortage? Pret a Manger boss Andrea Wareham is worried about filling jobs after Brexit

Emma Haslett
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Pret a Manger may find it hard to fill jobs after Brexit (Source: Getty)

Brexit may be putting your avocado habit under threat, after the HR boss of Pret a Manger admitted she will struggle to fill jobs if she is only allowed to hire British applicants.

At a House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee hearing yesterday, Andrea Wareham said just one in 50 people applying for jobs at the middle class sandwich chain are British.

While 65 per cent of it non-British workers are European, staff come from 110 different countries, she added.

"If I had to fill all our vacancies with British-only people I would not be able to fill them because of the lack of applications."

With a starting salary of £16,000, the committee suggested hiking pay might help. However, Wareham said Pret staff can increase their salary to £45,000 including bonuses "within a few years".

"I actually don’t think increasing pay would do the trick.

"We do pay well above the National Living Wage. We have great benefits and we offer fantastic careers," she said.

She added that the company is going on a recruitment drive to hire British workers.

“We are entirely accepting that the number of EU nationals will go down over time - we would love to increase the number of British nationals."

Last month Pret a Manger was named among 30 British private companies MPs want more oversight of.

Under proposed rules, the companies - which also include John Lewis and Topshop owner Arcadia - will have to set out how they comply with the corporate governance code on matters such as accountability, relations with shareholders and remuneration.

In 2015 it was hinted the company may be planning a flotation, but its private equity owner, Bridgepoint, quashed the rumours.

"We said at the time of the refinancing in 2013 that we would extend our holding period for Pret. There are therefore no plans to sell Pret and no decision has been taken about the type or timing of exit," a spokesman told City A.M..

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