One in five full-time pub jobs lost since 2009

A new report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland has revealed that one in five full-time pub jobs have been lost in the last three years due to a combination of declining alcohol consumption, reduced consumer spending and a major shift from on-premise purchase to off-licence sales.

DIGI’s Estimate of Employment in Public Houses by DCU’s Anthony Foley shows that 7,000 full-time pub jobs have been lost between 2009 and mid-2012 and that there are now 27,900 full-time pub jobs in Ireland, down from 34,900 in 2009.

As a consequence of this shift from full-time to part-time employment in Irish pubs, bar-work as a full-time career path is becoming less and less viable with pub owners increasingly forced to rely on part-time casual staff, according to DIGI which stated that this is having a particular impact on younger people – especially men – who’d traditionally have relied upon bar work as a viable career option.

Due to the increased proportion of part-time staff also employed in these pubs total employment currently stands at 49,200 jobs, down from 54,000 three years ago. While this level of employment remains significant, the decline mirrors the drop in sales volumes over the same period which fell by 34 per cent between 2008 and 2012.

The report is being published as latest data from the Revenue Commissioners shows that there has been a 3.8 per cent decline across all categories of alcohol (beer, wine, spirits, and cider) in the nine months to the end of September 2012 in comparison with the same period last year.

In this context DIGI stated that any move by the Government to increase taxes in December’s Budget would further damage Irish pubs.

Tony Foley commented, “Traditionally the pub trade has been a major employer accounting for tens of thousands of jobs in cities, towns and villages the length and breadth of the country. As a result, bar-work was a viable full-time career option and this employment was a key part of the major economic contribution made by the wider hospitality industry.
“However, due to the recent dramatic declines in pub sales there has been a major shift from full- to part-time staff in our pubs. For example:

•    in 2009 54,000 people were employed in Irish pubs, with 34,900 full-time jobs
•    in 2010 51,700 people were employed in Irish pubs, with 30,800 full-time jobs
•    in 2011 50,700 people were employed in Irish pubs, with 29,000 full-time jobs

“As of July 2012, there were 49,200 total employees in Irish pubs with 27,900 full time jobs..”

DIGI Secretary and Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O’Keeffe added, “With prospects for pubs remaining poor, the role of part-time work in the declining number of pubs and bars throughout the country will increase at the expense of full-time jobs. Yet even these casual jobs will be at risk as the trade contracts, impacting not only full-time staff but students and others who rely on part-time bar work.

“Given the weakness in the domestic economy and pressures on discretionary income, prospects for the pub and wider hospitality sectors remain bleak in the short-medium term. As a result, the strong likelihood is that further job losses will be incurred particularly in rural Ireland where many pubs, businesses and livelihoods are at risk.

“The drinks sector and the wider hospitality industry remain a key part of the economy and our tourist industry in particular. Given that the Government has identified projects such as The Gathering and introduced a lower rate of VAT on food and certain services in order to boost tourism and the job-intensive hospitality sector, we would appeal to them not to increase excise taxes in next week’s Budget as they could jeopardise the success of these initiatives.

“Instead we are calling on them to work with us on ways to sustain the many thousands of jobs that our industry supports.”

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