The number of people employed by pubs in the UK has increased over the last decade, despite a shrinking number of watering holes, new figures have revealed.
Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that while the number of pubs has shrunk from roughly 50,000 in 2008 to 39,000 in 2018, the number of employees has risen six per cent.
The figures show that pint-sized pubs have been hardest hit by closures, with the number of pubs employing nine people or fewer plummeting 40 per cent since 2001.
Meanwhile, employment by medium and large chains has grown 29 per cent.
The figures reflect a shift from independent, family-run pubs to large nationwide chains. The ONS said the rise of gastropubs and increased focus on food may also be responsible for the higher levels of staffing.
“The pub sector is proud of its role as a major UK employer and so the ONS data showing that pubs are employing more people than ever before is welcome news,” said Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
“Unless more is done to help alleviate the cost pressures pubs face, however, they will continue to close and jobs will be lost,” she added.
The ONS research also revealed pub closures were most common in suburban areas. Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Luton all have fewer than half the number of pubs they did in 2001.
Hackney saw the biggest rise in pub numbers, gaining 30 new venues since 2001. Overall, pub revenue has remained flat since the recession, taking inflation into account.
Many British pubs enjoyed a boost in business this summer, as England’s World Cup run and scorching weather brought in additional punters.
Last week Marston’s reported a four per cent rise in profit in the year to the end of September, which it said was a result of improved trading over the summer months.