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Published January 2024

Top Employer United Kingdom

Wetherspoon has been recognised for 18 years, including 2023, by the Top Employers Institute, as a ‘Top Employer United Kingdom’. During the pandemic, applications for accreditation were paused (2021 and 2022).  

Employee numbers  

At the end of our financial year 2022/23, around 43,000 people were employed pubs and hotels, in regional roles and at head office (in Watford, Hertfordshire).

In the Republic of Ireland, over 580 people were employed.

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

Of our staff, 54% are aged 24 years or under; therefore, for many, this is their first experience of working. Numerous people join the company from the ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEET) population and can start with limited basic skills and confidence.

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

The attraction and retention of talented pub and kitchen managers are important for any hospitality business. As the table below demonstrates, the retention of managers has improved, even during the pandemic.

Financial year

Pub manager’s average length of service


Kitchen manager’s average
length of service 
































2023 14.4 10.7

The average length of service for a pub manager is 14 years and four months and a kitchen manager 10 years and seven months, while 33% of hourly paid employees have been with us for over three years.

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

Of hourly paid staff, 97% (96.8%) are employed on a guaranteed-hour contract. A minority of employees prefers the flexibility of a contract with no minimum hours. Where these contracts are used, employees receive exactly the same benefits as those on a guaranteed-hour contract, there is no sole-employer restriction and no obligation on employees to accept those hours offered. 

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Wetherspoon strives to maintain a working environment, terms and conditions of employment and personnel and management practices which ensure that no individual receives less favourable treatment, or discrimination, on the grounds of: 
  • age
  • gender (including gender reassignment).
  • marital or civil partnership. 
  • part-time status. 
  • physical or mental disabilities.
  • pregnancy or maternity.
  • race (including nationality, colour, ethnic origin)* .
  • religion or belief,
  • sex.
  • sexual orientation.
*In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, this also applies to the Irish traveller community. 

Wetherspoon’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

Wetherspoon actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion, throughout the company, by the application of employment policies and practices which ensure that individuals receive treatment which is fair, equitable and consistent with their relevant aptitudes, potential, skills and abilities. 

All managers will seek to ensure that all employees comply with these principles, and Wetherspoon will provide training to those who have special responsibility for applying the ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ policy. 

The company will ensure that individuals are recruited, remunerated, promoted and trained, based on objective criteria, taking into consideration relevant aptitudes, potential, skills and abilities. No applicants will be placed at a disadvantage by requirements or conditions which are not necessary to the performance of the job or which constitute direct or indirect discrimination. 

No employment decision will be taken based on irrelevant or discriminatory criteria. 

The company is committed to making reasonable adjustments in the workplace to assist all employees who require them. Where business needs allow, working patterns will be reviewed, and flexible working will be offered to employees. 

It is our aim to create and maintain a harmonious working environment. We recognise the problems which sexual, racial and other forms of harassment, including bullying, may cause at work, and are committed to ensuring that such unacceptable behaviour does not take place. 

No employees will be discriminated against, subjected to any detriment or victimised because they have made a complaint or allegation of any form of discrimination, harassment/victimisation or because they have given evidence in relation to any such complaint. 

This policy applies to pre-employment, employment and post-employment, including recruitment, promotion, training and termination of employment. We are an age-positive employer, with training and career development opportunities offered to all of those meeting the selection criteria.

The company does not tolerate actions such as sexist comments, innuendo, jokes of an offensive nature, unwanted physical contact (eg brushing against a colleague’s body) or inappropriate touching of employees, customers or contractors. Such actions will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure. Complaints will be investigated thoroughly and dealt with via the grievance procedure. 

Employees found to have treated others unfavourably, on the basis of a protected characteristic, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, under the disciplinary policy and procedure.

Network groups

Four network groups have been established to support employees at all levels:

  • Physical and mental health and well-being
  • Race and ethnic diversity
  • Women

The breakdown, by gender, across the company, in September 2023, was as follows:
  • 52% female and 48% male (total company)
  • senior-manager level: 26% female and 74% male (senior manager/HOD/management board)
  • board level: 14% female and 86% male
The company has been recognised, by the Department for Work and Pensions, as an Age Positive and Disability Confident employer.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference in the average pay of men and women across the company, irrespective of their role. Median and mean gaps are calculated using those calculations set out in the gender pay gap reporting regulations.

A full copy of the report is available at:


The company does not gather data on employees’ ethnicity.

Ethnicity pay-gap-reporting

The UK Government has confirmed that, for the time being, it does not intend to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay-gap-reporting.

Antiharassment, antisexual harassment and antibullying 

Harassment, including sexual 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 antiharassment, antisexual harassment and antibullying applies to colleagues, customers, contractors and visitors.

We train employees from induction, and by way of regular refresher training, that harassment, including third-party harassment (from customers and others), is unacceptable in the workplace. 

We encourage those employees who believe, under the terms of the policy, that they are being harassed to speak up and report such behaviour to their line manager or to the personnel department.

Alternatively, reports can be made directly to the dedicated whistleblowing e-mail address: 

Training and career opportunities 

The company’s range of training courses helps to motivate employees, providing 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 applicants.

During 2022/23, we promoted over 1,400 hourly paid staff to management positions.

Investment in training, skills and professional development

Each year, the company invests in employee training, skills and professional development. 

In addition, £3.2 million has been paid as an apprenticeship levy in the last 12 months. 

Apprenticeships and qualifications 

The apprenticeship programme was launched in January 2018, offering 10 qualifications:

  • Level 2 Housekeeping (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Food production (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Hospitality team member: Food and beverage (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4]) 
  • Level 2 Hospitality team member: Licensed retail (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 2 Reception (equivalent to five GCSEs A*–C [9–4])
  • Level 3 Hospitality supervisor (equivalent to two A levels) 
  • Level 3 Senior production chef (equivalent to two A levels) 
  • Level 4 Hospitality manager (equivalent to foundation degree) 
  • Level 5 Operations/departmental manager (with diploma in higher education) (in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University) 
  • Level 6 Chartered manager degree apprenticeship: Business management practice (in conjunction with Leeds Beckett University) 
The apprenticeship programme develops knowledge, skills and behaviours, as well as improving English and maths through functional skills training. Currently, of all apprentices, 37% are undergoing an English or maths qualification as part of their apprenticeship, with 44 functional skills qualifications completed in the last 12 months. 

In July 2023, the total number of employees undertaking an apprenticeship was 351, of whom: 
48% are undergoing a qualification at level 2; 22% at level 3; 12% at level 4; 8% at level 5; 10% at level 6. 

Pay and reward


The company aims to offer a competitive pay rate above the statutory minimum and a range of additional benefits, including a bonus scheme, share scheme and employee discount. 

Additional pay-weightings are paid in several locations, including Greater London. 

Bonus scheme and free shares

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.

All employees with more than 18 months’ service are eligible to join the share incentive plan (SIP)** and receive free shares in J D Wetherspoon plc, giving them the opportunity to benefit from the company’s future success. Employees can also choose, under the partnership shares scheme, to purchase additional shares in the company.

Before the pandemic, these awards increased, as earnings increased for shareholders. 

**An equivalent scheme is offered to those employed in the Republic of Ireland.

Financial year  Bonus and free shares  (Loss)/profit after tax*  Bonus and free shares as % of profits



























































2022 30 (21)









*IFRS16 was implemented in the year ending 26 July 2020 (FY20). From this period, all profit numbers in the above table are on a post-IFRS16 basis. Before this date, all profit numbers are on a pre-IFRS16 basis. **Excludes 2020, 2021 and 2022.

In the financial year ending July 2023, the company paid £36m in respect of bonuses and free shares to employees. Of the amount, 98.6% was paid to staff below board level and 83.4% to staff working in our pubs.

Since 2007, we have paid around £503m of bonuses and free shares, which is 53% of the total ‘profit after tax’ for the period, excluding 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

In total, since 2004, Wetherspoon has purchased and awarded 25.9m shares to employees, 19.9% 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 ending July 2023, Wetherspoon had around 43,000, 14,278 of whom were shareholders in the company. The average shareholding is 505 shares.

Sick pay policy

Company sick pay has been extended to all employees, irrespective of job role. 

Complimentary meal at work policy
All employees are offered a complimentary meal and a drink, when working, irrespective of the length of their shift. All employees also receive a staff discount which may be used on and off duty, across the company’s pubs and hotels.

Employee discount

Employees are entitled to an off-duty employee discount of 20% on all food, drinks and accommodation at Wetherspoon hotels. This discount may be extended to include up to three other people eating or drinking with the employee or staying with the employee at a hotel.

Loyalty reward

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

Tips policy

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

Employee engagement and consultation

Wetherspoon’s decision-making has always benefited from the experience of pub-based employees who are in close contact with customers.

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 a head of department or director. Some of the suggestions received are for new products; others are for small, or sometimes big, improvements to the myriad ways of working; 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. These meetings’ minutes are sent to all pubs, with employees encouraged to add their comments to the discussions and debates.
  • employee directors, appointed on a three-year term, who attend board meetings and the annual general meeting (AGM), offering the experience of pub-based employees who are in close contact with customers. 
  • regular liaison meetings with employees, at all levels, to gain feedback on aspects of the business and ideas for improvements.
  • directors and senior management completing regular visits to pubs – and pub employees visiting head office.
  • directors, senior management and area managers working regularly in all areas of the pub operation, including the kitchen, bar and hotels.
  • a weekly e-mail from the chief executive, sent to all employees.
  • a dedicated website and app for employees:   
  • four separate employee network groups (disability, mental health and well-being; LGBTQIA+; race and ethnic diversity; women).  
Employee directors 

In December 2021, two employee directors and two associate employee directors were appointed to the board. 

The roles are part time, taking an average of one day a month, for which employees will be released from their usual day-to-day duties. Each appointment is entered into on a three-year fixed-term basis. 

Employee directors do not have management responsibility for the running of the entire company, which will remain the responsibility of the full-time executive directors. They are asked to contribute to the decision-making process, based on their experience and opinions. An important aspect of the roles is promoting and protecting the distinctive aspects of the company’s culture – crucial factors in its future success.

Labour relations

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.

There have been no labour relations disputes or unrest in the last financial year. 

Modern slavery and human-trafficking statement

The company is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure that its policies and working practices help to combat the global issues of slavery and human-trafficking. There are policies and procedures to address these issues specifically and to reinforce our zero-tolerance company stance against modern slavery and human-trafficking. 

During 2023, we have continued to work with our suppliers to ensure full compliance with our company policies and requisite standards, as stated in the company’s supplier charter. 

We continue to focus on transparency in our supply chains and require all suppliers of food, drinks and non-consumables to become member of Sedex – the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. 

The modern slavery and human-trafficking statement is published on, in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It outlines the approach which the company is taking to prevent modern slavery in our business and supply chains. 


Published January 2024