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JD Wetherspoon was founded by Tim Martin who set up his first pub in 1979. The company now owns over 900 pubs (plus several hotels and Lloyd’s No.1 bars) throughout England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland and Tim Martin remains within the company as Chairman.
The company aims to be a highly regarded employer; we employ over 34,000 employees within our pubs and Head Office through its investment in training, policies on equality, a competitive remuneration package and our award winning training programme.
Wetherspoons has been named Britain’s Top Employer 2015, an award which is only given to 73 companies across the UK and which we have won consecutively over the last 13 years.
People are our greatest asset – and we are very proud of the recognition which we have received from those independent bodies awarding us in this area. Let’s be blunt: without the best people, we can’t offer the best service – and its great service which customers want, above all else.
We seek to develop staff through effective and award-winning training and development, through a positive working environment and, of course, by means of a decent pay packet. Every year, thousands of staff complete one or more training courses, not only preparing them to work safely and to the best of their ability, but also inspiring them to pursue positive career development.
We developed the Advanced Diploma in Leisure Retail Management, for pub and area managers, allowing all of our pub managers to gain a university qualification which sits just below degree level. A course designed by Wetherspoon in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University.
We offer excellent training and support at all levels within Wetherspoon. As soon as you start, you'll be assigned packages to support you throughout your career with us here!
We aim to be a highly regarded employer, through our investment in training, policies on equality, competitive remuneration packages and by encouraging all of our employees to participate actively in our business strategy.
Attracting and retaining talent
We employ over 35,000 people across our pubs, in regional roles and at our head office in Watford, Hertfordshire.
We created over 2,000 new jobs in 2014/15, the majority of which is in the local community of the pub, and continue to work with several organisations to offer jobs to the long-term unemployed, ex-military personnel and those with disabilities.
Of our staff, 62% are aged 25 years or under. For many, this is their first experience of working. Many join the company from the NEET population (not in employment, education or training) and can start with limited basic skills and confidence.
Many employees have chosen to spend their career with us and progress through the company. The average length of service for a pub manager is now over 10.5 years, with 18% of associates with us for over three years.
Employee turnover remains at an historic low.
The majority of hourly paid staff is employed on contracts with no minimum guarantee of hours each week. There is no sole-employer restriction and no implied obligation on employees to accept the hours offered to them. Guaranteed-hours contracts are provided to supervisory staff and are available, on request, to all hourly paid employees.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
We are committed to providing equality of opportunity and to the elimination of any direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation of employees, job applicants, customers and contractors.
A support network has been established to support the development of female managers across the company, including a dedicated training programme and coaching support.
The breakdown in our workforce, by gender, across the company is as follows: 52% female and 48% male.
At a senior manager level: 41% female and 59% male. At board level: 37.5% female and 62.5% male.
The company has been recognised as an Age Positive employer, by the Department for Work and Pensions. It has also been recognised by the Corporate Research Foundation, in association with The Guardian newspaper, as a Top Employer United Kingdom, for 12 consecutive years, including 2015.
Training and career opportunities
The quality and volume of our training courses help to create motivation and to provide employees with the necessary skills to carry out their jobs to a consistently high standard.
We pride ourselves in providing careers, rather than just jobs, and anyone showing promise is given the opportunity to progress. The nature of our business means that the company attracts applicants with a range of skills and previous experience. We offer a range of induction and training programmes to employees throughout their career with the company, including on-job training, off-job training academies and e-learning via a dedicated employee website.
In addition, the company carried out approximately 14 days’ preopening training for each new pub and has a formal one-day induction programme for all new bar and kitchen staff.
Internal progression is our main source of appointing job roles throughout the company. All pub manager and area manager vacancies are filled internally.
In 2014, we created 468 new management positions.
In addition, our professional diploma in leisure retail management, run in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University, is offered to all pub managers and area managers, allowing them to gain a professional qualification, while working.
Pay and reward
We aim to offer competitive and fair pay rates and benefits and offer a bonus scheme to all employees.
Pay rates are above the national minimum wage, with 17% of pub-based employees paid on or above the ‘living wage’ (based on their basic pay only, excluding bonus payments and other benefits).
In addition to basic pay, all employees are immediately eligible for the company bonus scheme, paid monthly to pub-based staff.
The average bonus payment for an associate was 3.9% and 11.6% for a pub manager. All employees with more than 18 months’ service are eligible to join the Share Incentive Plan and receive free shares in the company, giving them the opportunity to share in our future success.
The company awarded bonuses and shares (SIPs) for employees of £30.7 million in the year (2014: £29.2 million), an increase of 5.2%. Of the payments, 97% were made to employees below board level, with approximately 81.5% of payments made to employees working in our pubs.
All employees also receive a staff discount in our pubs and hotels, on and off duty, and are able to join our company health plan and pension plans, as well as obtain tax-efficient childcare vouchers.
We support the well-being of our employees on a wide range of health issues, including those raised at recruitment, and on any necessary adjustments to help them to maintain employment and to ensure that our employees are not harmed by their work.
We have established a welfare committee which meets weekly to review any requests from employees for additional financial, pastoral or occupational health support.
We have reduced the working week for all pub management to 45 hours, including all paid breaks.
We offer a range of flexible working arrangements and hours to support employees in different stages of their career or life, including sabbatical leave and school-holiday leave.
Historically, pubs have always been a focal point of any community and we aim to continue that tradition by supporting and building relationships with the local community, through employment and the provision of services and investment in the local area. We aim to provide good access for those with disabilities.
In the last year, the company has received several design awards for pub development, including
Since 2002, Wetherspoon has raised £11m for Clic Sargent, the charity supporting children and young people with cancer – thanks to the amazing efforts and generosity of our customers and staff.
Since it began with a chance meeting in 2002, the partnership between Wetherspoon and CLIC Sargent has gone from strength to strength – every year. Wetherspoon is extremely proud to announce that the fundraising total, for the charity supporting young cancer patients, has now topped an incredible £11- million and continues to climb. This remarkable fundraising achievement is all thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of our customers, employees and local communities.
When Barry McGuigan launched our initial target of raising £500,000, back in 2002, few could have predicted the phenomenal success of the collaboration. You have run, jumped, cycled, dressed up, dressed down, sat in baths of beans, custard and jelly, shaved and waxed, baked cakes and thrown ice buckets, climbed hills and mountains and played football, golf and darts – to name just a few of the fundraising events.
Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s chairman, said: “It’s an incredible achievement – and we’re all delighted to have hit the £11-million milestone.
“CLIC Sargent is a wonderful charity – and staff and customers really engage with the work it does supporting children and young people coping with cancer, along with their families. They’re constantly coming up with new ways to raise money and keep this partnership flourishing.”
Every day, 10 children and young people hear the shocking news they have cancer. CLIC Sargent provides clinical, practical and emotional support to help them to cope with cancer and get the most out of life.
CLIC Sargent Senior Account Manager Liz Lowrey said: “We’re so grateful to our friends at J D Wetherspoon who show such dedication to supporting CLIC Sargent. The funds raised make a huge difference to what we can do to support children and young people with cancer, and their families. CLIC Sargent is there from diagnosis onwards to provide grants as well as help such as social workers who give practical and emotional support and Homes from Home near hospitals where parents can stay during their child’s treatment.”
Timeline: Up to 18 months
As an ‘Associate’ - whether you want to work behind the bar, in the kitchen, front of house on the floor or as a cleaner you can all expect the same great career path to get you to the height of your career!
You don’t need to have any previous experience as we will train you on every part of the role, you just need to be friendly and sociable and have a really positive attitude to succeed with us. What’s next?
If you are keen to progress up the ladder then the next step for you will be the team leader role once you are ready.
Timeline: approx 6 months
With this role comes more exciting responsibilities. You’ll need to have the skills to be able to lead and motive a team, as you’ll be supervising and training others.
The associates will look up to you for support, so it’s really important that you have great people skills and the ability to think fast on your feet, when they need your help. As well as being a friendly, sociable person, with a really positive attitude, you’ll also need to be a great team player to succeed in this role.
If you’re keen to progress further up the career ladder, then the next step for you could be the shift leader role.
Timeline: approx 5 months
To step up to this role, you’ll have previously been a team leader with us. We feel that it’s really important that we promote our employees internally to the shift leader position, as we believe that you can really succeed by first learning all of the basics, at associate level, and by learning leadership skills as a team leader.
As shift leader, you’ll have lots of really important responsibilities. As well as always delivering excellent customer service, if you are a shift leader on the bar, you will (on occasion) be running the shift. You’ll need the skills to be able to keep an eye on everything going on – you’ll be managing the team of associates on duty, making sure that our customers are happy and (on occasion) dealing with their feedback. You’ll also be ensuring that the pub/kitchen standards are in tip-top condition on every shift you run.
As you continue to excel, the next step for you could be the shift or kitchen manager role.
As a Wetherspoon manager, you will have a key part to play in the pub’s success. As well as being friendly, sociable and having a really positive attitude, you will also need to have strong leadership skills, as you will be managing, leading and motivating the team.
As shift manager, you will run shifts in the pub manager’s absence and will, of course, be serving and getting to know your customers. As kitchen manager, you will have the overall responsibility of running the kitchen and working with your team to deliver our 10-minute service aim. Your team will depend on you for help to resolve problems. Therefore, you will need the skills to be able to analyse and resolve queries quickly.
If you’re applying externally for a shift or kitchen manager position and your application is successful, you’ll be invited to attend an interview with one of our area managers. This will be your opportunity to shine and tell us all about yourself!
The next role could be Pub Manager
Timeline: ongoing development
To step up to this role, you’ll have previously been a shift or kitchen manager with us. We don’t recruit externally for this position, since, with such an important role, we are committed to progressing our employees internally. Ensuring that these employees have completed the whole training programme successfully allows consistency across the business and gives our employees the best opportunity to make a success of their career.
As pub manager, you will have overall responsibility for the pub’s success. You will need the skills to be able to drive and motivate your team, so not only can the pub be the best that it can, but each individual too.
You will build strong relationships with the community and will also have a good understanding of the market place. You will work with your area manager to ensure that your pub is always one step ahead of the competition!
After all of this…?
The possibilities are endless: you could join many of our former pub managers in area management or take on a senior management or specialist role at head office.
21 years of age and over, hourly rate range £7.00 – £7.50 (depending on location and training).
18–20 years of age, hourly rate range £6.15 – £6.65 (depending on location and training).
Under 18 years of age, hourly rate range £5.00 – £5.25 (depending on location and training).
50% discount on food, when on duty20% discount when not on duty or when you stay in our hotels.
And from day one, you’re welcome to join our discount scheme to gain discounts at over 2,000 retailers.
At 5 years – get a week extra paid holiday
At 10 years – 2 weeks’ paid holiday
15 years – 4 weeks’ paid holiday
20 years – 6 weeks’ paid holiday
Competitive salaries from £19,895 to £21,420 (after training) for shift managers
From £20,990 to £24,480 (after training) for kitchen managers
Additional allowances for certain pubs.
From day one of your employment, you will be eligible to join the J D Wetherspoon Stakeholder Group Personal Pension Plan. This will require a minimum personal contribution from you, plus a contribution from the company for certain grades, after a qualifying period
£30,090 minimum starting salary for single managers (solely running the pub) increasing to £31,620 after 2 years.
£51,720 minimum starting salary (joint) for a management couple (running the pub together) increasing to £53,180 after 2 years.
In addition to the minimum salary, depending on the location of the pub, you may also receive a live-out allowance up to £4000. If you are a management couple you will each receive 50% of the live-out allowance.
Additional £1,500 London weighting allowance, if placed in certain pubs within the M25.
Paid monthly, you can earn up to 50% of your basic salary in bonuses, based on pub profit, sales, stocks and outcomes of mystery visits.
You’ll be entitled to 30 days’ holiday per annum, pro rata, for part-time employees.
I have been working at J D Wetherspoon full-time (More than a year)
They work hard to provide a lot of training for you, encouraging you to be the best you can be. It's great to be in a company that cares about its staff progress. Bonuses are pretty sweet.
It can be a very stressful environment. You do eventually get used to it though. There is also a quick turnover for a lot of staff. It pretty much can take over your life.
Advice to Management
I don't have any advice for management.
I applied online. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at J D Wetherspoon (Cardiff, Wales) in August 2018.
Easy, casual - sat down with manager and she asked a few standard questions from a sheet which you can find online - just type in Wetherspoons interview questions.