Poor image poses staffing problem for housing sector

Nearly two-thirds of HR directors working for housing associations believe
recruitment is the biggest challenge facing the sector, research reveals.

The survey, for Genesis Housing Group, the Housing Corporation and the National
Housing Federation, also finds just under half of HR directors in the sector
feel staff retention is the second biggest problem.

Almost 40 per cent of the 101 HR directors surveyed admit they have
recruited unsuitable staff due to a lack of applicants. And half of the
respondents cite a problem with not being able to shed them.

The research shows that one of the reasons housing associations face
problems recruiting and retaining good staff is because of the sector’s poor

More than 70 per cent of 1,000 members of the public surveyed for the study
think that working in social housing would mean dealing with ‘difficult’

But a similar proportion agree working in social housing would ‘make a
difference to people’s lives’ and two-thirds think it would be ‘a worthwhile

Pete Jeffery, director of HR and communications at Genesis Housing Group,
believes the industry should focus on the fact that people believe a job in
social housing is rewarding.

He said: "If we can’t promote an industry on the back of that, in turn
securing the services of the very best people, then we genuinely do have a

Jeffery is optimistic that two forthcoming national conferences will help
housing associations put together an action plan to address concerns over
recruitment and retention.

"We need to look carefully at how we promote ourselves outside the
sector, particularly with a view to dispelling inaccurate perceptions," he

By Ben Willmott

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