Throughout 2018 housing associations and local authorities have been seeking housing professionals that have solid strategic and commercial experience, and who are able to implement change and drive cost saving across the organisation. We have especially seen this within property services, where there has been a real spike in demand for experienced workers with the specialist skills needed to support property services functions. This is as a result of an increased need for multi-skilled housing candidates who are able to support various departments that include planned repairs and capital works teams and also the day-to-day repairs departments. Employing candidates with this skillset has allowed many organisations we work with to deliver a more streamlined service to tenants and a more cost effective solution for the organisation.
We have also witnessed a higher number of social housing landlords bringing their trade services in-house as a result of the poor service they have received from national organisations. I work with a number of organisations nationwide who are in the process of bringing their DLO services in-house, and as a result the need for permanent and temporary skilled trade candidates has massively increased. More specifically, we have seen a huge increase in demand for electrician’s, gas engineers and contracts managers.
There is now also a much greater need for homelessness officers, and candidates that understand homelessness as a result of The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. Due to the change in legislation, our clients have been seeking candidates that have the skills to assess homeless applications and ensure the correct decisions are made. There has also been an increased need for candidates that have a strong knowledge of this legislation to assist with the implementation of new processes and key changes. As a result of this, candidates with the desired skillsets have been able to command higher rates of pay and negotiate better working packages.
We have also witnessed a slight reluctance to recruit due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which has impacted roles especially within supported housing. Organisations in this area have put some recruitment on hold until they know the extent of UK migration in the aftermath of Brexit. I expect this to continue well into the New Year until we have a clearer picture of what Brexit will look like, and what implications we may need to face as a result.
Looking further into the next year, I believe the lift of the borrowing cap will have a major impact and will provide many opportunities across the sector. There is an air of excitement about what this lift will do in terms of councils building new homes, with Savills estimating that 10,000 – 15,000 new homes could be built which will result in an increased demand for highly skilled candidates across multiple housing functions.