A UK branch of Pret a Manger

High street chains offering pay rises and new jobs

This could be a great time to get back into work as employers face staff shortages

Some well-known high street chains have launched a hiring spree, which could be welcome news to those of us looking for work or to change jobs.

It comes as businesses in Britain try to bounce back from the shock of the pandemic – but many are struggling to fill vacancies.

Coffee and sandwich giant Pret a Manger is switching its focus away from city centres and plans to hire 3,000 people in new shops in suburbs, railway stations and motorway services.

And in even better news for those of us interested in a job with them, the firm recently upped its pay rates by five per cent to at least £9.40 an hour.

But the chain also axed paid breaks, meaning staff on an eight-hour shift are no longer paid for the half hour break they’re required to take.

High street rival Costa is also offering more money to staff – workers there have had a five per cent raise too, taking the rate to at least £9.36 an hour from October 1.

Like Pret, Costa is also looking for workers and wants 2,000 new staff on board before Christmas.

Hospitality crisis

Asian food chain itsu has hiked pay rates by 11 per cent to at least £10.40 an hour, and Italian restaurant chain Prezzo has raised pay by four per cent. It also said outlets will not open on Boxing Day to give all staff the day off.

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Poundland and Marks & Spencer have already said they will be giving all staff the day off on Boxing Day as a thank you for their work during the pandemic.

Lorry drivers, fruit pickers and chefs were offered pay rises and perks earlier in the year as vacancies grew in these sectors too. 

It’s all part of a drive by high street businesses to fill jobs. The crisis is hitting independent retailers too so if we’re job-hunting our local town centre might be a good place to start.

Job-hunting support

If we’ve been out of work for a while though, it’s natural to feel anxious about applying for jobs. But it’s also important to remember that non-paying work like raising children or caring will have given us a range of skills that employers are looking for.

We can also take the Quids in! Are You Job Ready quiz – it can get us thinking about what’s important when we’re looking to start working.


And recruitment firm Reed has simple advice on writing a CV to show off the skills and experience we have to offer, including a free template we can download.

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