Speak to an expert +44(0)1733 391377

Toggle Sidebar

Last week, Paydata attended the National Housing Federation’s HR in Housing Conference and Exhibition designed to help delegates achieve more from their people, technology and culture. To coincide with the event, we published the findings of our special report into the Housing Association sector, looking to identify challenges and inform HR/Reward practices in the year ahead.

Tim Kellett, director for Paydata, says, “Our report demonstrates the fast pace of change in this sector and the more innovative approaches employers increasingly feel that they need to turn to in order to overcome the ongoing recruitment and retention challenges.

The number one challenge for housing associations in 2019 is the need for alternative forms of reward recognition, closely followed by working within restricted HR budgets. Reward designed to tackle an ageing workforce and attract younger people to the sector has become a prominent issue for employers who need to secure a pipeline of talent to future-proof their business.”

Here we take a look at the four key findings from the report, which highlight the ongoing challenges Housing Associations face and the implications for HR and reward.


The future impact of National Living Wage increases

23 per cent of participants are concerned about the future effect of the National Living Wage (NLW) increases. Confidence in future increases drops, with specific concerns about the NLW eroding lower end salary scales. With the NLW set to reach £9 per hour by 2020, we asked what participants had done to minimise the cost implications. Some had focused on consolidating allowances to accommodate the increase in base pay, alongside paying other employees smaller pay increases. Other responses included reducing the workforce and increasing productivity.

In line with 2018 responses, 87 per cent are not anticipating an immediate issue with the 2019 rise, with a number already paying the Living Wage.


Increasing market consolidation

A significant degree of consolidation in the sector is expected. 14 per cent of respondents anticipate going through a merger or acquisition in the coming years. One third of respondents had experienced a merger or acquisition and identified the key challenge of consolidating and harmonising employee terms and conditions. Other issues quoted were around the management of a multi-tiered workforce and the impact of different employment cultures merging.


Promoting diversity and inclusion

Figures suggest that the gender pay gap figures have remained steady, with many delegates correctly feeling that the sector figures would be lower than the national average of 11 per cent. Half of respondents indicated that they have already started looking at the ethnicity pay gap. Diversity and inclusion initiatives already adopted by participants include women’s network group, LGBT groups, supporting gender balance in recruitment and progression and encouraging female ambition.


Recruitment and retention challenges

Recruitment is a greater challenge than retention. Whilst delegates at the event echoed this feeling, it was also backed up by our report. Two thirds of respondents have experienced difficulties recruiting people, with half having had to offer new recruits salaries which conflict with those paid to existing employees. Nearly a third of respondents have experienced retention difficulties over the last 12 months, with a similar number anticipating retention problems over the next 12 months.

HR in Housing conference delegates

Our attendance at the event highlighted the challenges that the sector is facing and the measures they are taking to future-proof their organisations. Job evaluation and ad hoc benchmarking were increasingly on the HR agenda for the upcoming year. Depending on the role, some organisations are benchmarking their roles with different markets and sectors.

The increasing interest in the objective frameworks that job evaluation and benchmarking methods can provide may signal the desire to overcome varied practices within HR. Introducing consistency throughout organisations when it comes to organisational structure and pay reviews can in turn positively impact recruitment and lower voluntary staff turnover, helping overcome the current challenges faced by the sector.


Data was provided by the following organisations:

  • A2Dominion Housing Group
  • Anchor Hanover Group
  • Bournemouth Churches Housing Association
  • Christian Action Housing Association
  • L&Q Group
  • Northampton Partnership Homes
  • Octavia
  • Orbit
  • Places for People
  • The Guinness Partnership
  • The Hyde Group
  • Trafford Housing Trust
  • WHG
  • Yorkshire Housing

If you would like to discuss the findings of our report further and share your own experiences, please get in touch.

    I consent to paydata.co.uk collecting and storing my data from this form.

    Related Articles

    Read More
    Reward Strategy

    How to manage performance in the third sector

    Third sector organisations are struggling to balance the ‘not for profit status’ of charities ...

    Read More
    Pay Review and Analysis

    How Do Effective Performance Reviews Support Recruitment & Retention?

    As HR professionals turn to the next round of pay reviews for 2019, there is no ‘one size fits all...


    Stay up to date

    Sign up for briefings on pay benchmarking, salary surveys, reward strategy and statistical updates.

    sign up for updates

    © Paydata Ltd 2024 All rights reserved.
    Registered in England no: 3632206
    VAT no: 728 0808 28

    Paydata Ltd, 24 Commerce Road, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 6LR