Heineken UK to Generate At Least 1,000 New Jobs in UK Following £39m Investment.

Photo Credits: Smit Patel via Unsplash

Dutch brewing giant Heineken UK has announced plans to invest £39 million in its Star Pubs operation. As it stands, this move could generate approximately 1,075 new job opportunities in the future.

Read on to find out exactly what the company intends and how this is likely to affect the UK job market and the wider economy.

Heineken UK’s Investment Plans

Heineken UK has confirmed that the cash injection will focus on improvements to around six hundred Star Pubs across the country, to enable 62 closed establishments to reopen by the end of this year. This is the most recent in a number of similar investments over the past five years, totalling a considerable £200 million.

The company has stated that it is aiming to “concentrate on transforming tired pubs in suburban areas into premium locals”, which will include providing customers with facilities to dine and watch sports in comfort as well as investing in new dispensing equipment and energy efficiency. This decision comes in response to the rise in remote working and decreases in commutes into city centres, aiming to give home-workers a pleasant and convenient environment for that often craved after-work pint.

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The revamps will involve “subtle zoning” to enable “different groups of customers to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities… without disturbing each other.” Heineken UK explains that “dividing screens and distinct changes to lighting, sound systems and furniture styles will help delineate the zones”, adding that “the projects will be carried out to a high standard and will impact every part of the pubs, from the toilets to the gardens.”

The Managing Director of Star Pubs, Lawson Mountstevens, has said: “People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local. They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment.” It seems that Heineken UK is keen to do what it can to meet this need.

How Will Heineken UK’s Plans Impact Jobs in the UK?

According to the Office for National Statistics’ April bulletin, unemployment rates of those aged 16 to 64 in the UK stood at 4.2% in February 2024, a rise of 0.2% from the previous month. Whilst this level of unemployment is comparable to that prevailing before the coronavirus pandemic, it is higher than estimates from the previous year. This being the case, Heineken UK’s promise of over a thousand job opportunities will no doubt come as welcome news to many.

Similarly, Heineken UK’s creation of over one thousand jobs in the UK is likely to help with the current national skills shortage. Due to the changing nature of many jobs since the coronavirus pandemic, a sizeable number of organisations have been struggling to find employees with adequate and relevant skills which they now require to fill these new roles successfully. This is likely due to increasing gaps between the roles now being advertised and the current workforce’s skills.

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However, given that the roles for which Star Pubs will be recruiting are unlikely to differ substantially from typical catering and hospitality jobs prior to the pandemic, the present skills shortage should not prove problematic in this case. Moreover, the considerable number of pub closures in recent years and consequent redundancies in the sector will undoubtedly result in a flood of applicants with the relevant skill set eagerly pursuing these job opportunities.

For further details about skills shortages in the UK, see this House of Commons Research Briefing.

Effects on the UK Economy

Over the past few years, the pub industry in the UK has suffered significantly, initially due to the coronavirus pandemic and then as a result of reduced consumer spending because of the cost-of-living crisis. According to the British Beer and Pub Association (“BBPA”), pubs were closing at a rate of five hundred each year between 2021 and 2023, with Star Pubs’ number of establishments decreasing from 2,700 to 2,400 since 2019.

Heineken UK’s announcement is therefore equally positive news for the UK pub industry. BBPA’s chief executive, Emma McClarkin, has called Heineken UK’s plans “a demonstration of the confidence to invest in Britain’s beer and pub sector which will help generate much-needed growth in local economies across the UK.”

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