The average hourly wage in the pub and restaurant sector is currently £6.75, according to research from Fourth Hospitality.

The figure is 2.2% up on the previous year but would need a 6.6% increase to reach the mandatory National Living Wage level of £7.20 for those aged 25 or over, which comes in to force next April. The figure is included in benchmarking data from 3,000 outlets, which showed average labour costs at 28.8% of revenues, up 0.5% on a year ago. Pubs, because they achieve higher wet sales, produce labour costs lower, at 26.7% (also up 0.5% on 2014).

The research also shows average weekly sales up 2.7% to £18,000 (from £17,600) with an average food mix of 77.2%, up from 76.6%. Margin growth was at 0.3 percentage points, driven entirely by food with general gross margins ranging from 76% to 78%.

Average length of service is 392 days, meaning employee turnover of 93%. This has improved from 2014 when average tenure was 385 days, equating to employee turnover of 94%. The worst rate recorded is 210 days average service (6.8 months). The best industry retention recorded by the Fourth system is 631 days, or 20.3 months

Average days lost through staff absence/sickness is 16.8, down from 18.2 in 2014. The best figure recorded was 11 days per site per month; the worst was 20 days

Mike Shipley. Analytics & Insight Solutions Director at Fourth, said: “When analysing these figures, we see a direct correlation between companies that proactively seek to engage and retain their teams, and those companies that perhaps do less work in this area.”