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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about how the public housing sector operates. Those looking for roles in social and public housing today will be able to secure better-paid roles and more candidate-centric job opportunities than may have been the case two years ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally transformed public life in more ways than can be counted. The negative impact of this international health crisis has been profound - but there are also numerous ways in which the pandemic has challenged existing wisdom about how society operates, resulting in changes for the better.
The employment market has undergone particularly significant changes in the last two years, and the public sector housing market is a prime example of this. Altered expectations among candidates, coupled with a need to bring fresh talent into the public and social housing sectors, have created a jobs market in which skilled professionals can access better opportunities than might have been the case before 2020.
Here, we will explore the impact of the pandemic on public sector housing roles, and look at the various reasons why now could be the ideal time to look for a new job in this sector.
Public housing services have an irreplaceable role in supporting the accommodation needs of vulnerable communities. As such, this sector was forced to adopt new and innovative ways of maintaining a continuous and reliable service even at the height of lockdown.
As a consequence, the sector embraced remote working, with public housing staff across all roles transitioning to providing support over the phone, carrying out interviews using Microsoft Teams, or completing their administrative work remotely using Excel or similar organisational software. Crucial IT infrastructure improvements and integration of these flexible technologies into the public housing workflow were accelerated considerably, meaning that fewer people needed to be in the office on a daily basis - in some cases, this has led to many public employers downsizing their offices or getting rid of certain premises entirely, as all work can now be done remotely.
At the same time, the initial wave of staff having to be furloughed or laid off during the most uncertain period of the pandemic was quickly followed by a significant resurgence in public sector hiring, meaning workers are now in considerable demand. With many sectors experiencing growth and top talent in short supply, a candidate-driven jobs market has emerged, in which the best applicants can expect to receive multiple offers and attractive terms from various employers.
Public sector housing employers understand that in this competitive market, it is now necessary for them to improve their offering for candidates in order to compete with the private sector on a more equal footing. This is especially important at a time when many professionals have been through a period in which they have had time to reconsider their priorities, and are now prepared to ask for more in terms of salary and flexibility to meet their personal goals and objectives.
Public sector housing employers have updated their offering for new and existing staff in various ways, in order to make the sector more competitive:
Public sector professionals are unwilling to see the additional flexibility they received during the height of the pandemic rolled back, and employers are responding accordingly. Remote working and flexible hours are becoming the norm in many roles, helping professionals to achieve a better work-life balance and accommodate their personal needs alongside their careers.
This is providing benefits for employers as well as staff, as the shift to remote working gives them access to a wider pool of talent - it is now possible for professionals in Glasgow to apply for roles in London, for example, as they no longer need to be in the office to do their work.
Moreover, some employers are going a step further and trialling four-day working weeks as standard, which has proven a highly popular option, and a key competitive differentiator from the more traditional working patterns of the private sector.
As the UK’s average cost of living skyrockets, public sector employers are improving their average salaries accordingly, while also offering a range of additional benefits to help people to cover their expenses and plan for the future.
The exact nature of these perks varies from employer to employer, but examples include cash plans, childcare support and generous public sector pensions; many also offer perks such as cycle-to-work schemes, which helps employees to stay healthy and assists in looking after the environment.
As a division, we are continuously assisting our public sector clients to benchmark their salaries, as well as analysing the market trends to help establish what would be competitive for each role available. This helps people to stay relevant in their market and comfortable in their salary bracket.
Many of the individuals who were furloughed or lost their jobs during the pandemic have since returned to the jobs market with a newfound emphasis on finding a role that offers long-term stability and career development opportunities. Public sector housing employers are responding accordingly, working to find suitable career pathways and skills development opportunities for the candidates they seek.
This kind of stability and long-term commitment has always been a priority for many job applicants, but in the current competitive market, candidates are better placed than ever before to ask for what they need, with a realistic expectation that employers will be willing to cater to their requirements.
As a result of these trends, there has rarely been a better time to join the public housing sector. Even those who have previously worked in one of these roles will find that much has changed in the last two years, resulting in a sector that is offering better opportunities, improved perks, more flexibility and the possibility of a more fulfilling career.
To learn more about the professional opportunities available within the public housing sector, and the best way to successfully apply for these roles, get in touch with the specialist recruiters at Sellick Partnership. We can help you find a role that suits your needs and ambitions, and tailor your application to give you the best chance of achieving your professional goals.
Visit our housing and property services recruitment hub to browse our latest roles in this sector, or learn more from our expert team.