Housing sector pay predictions for 2020/21

Pay in the housing sector is predicted to rise by an average of 2.5% in 2020/21, according to a survey of almost 60 housing organisations.

ema consultancy, one of the sector’s longest-standing recruitment, HR and governance specialists, has asked providers for their pay reward information each year, for the last three years. To recognise this anniversary, it is launching a pay and reward benefits club to help providers compare performance and insight.

This year’s survey saw the highest number of participating associations and revealed plans to increase pay in the range of 2% to 3% with an average of 2.5%. This compares with an average pay award in 2019 of 2.3%. Nearly a third are still debating their pay award, potentially due to Brexit and wider political uncertainty.

The Office of National Statistics last month reported that annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees in the UK is at 4.0% for total pay (including bonuses). In real terms (after adjusting for inflation) annual growth in total pay is estimated to be 2.1%. Public sector annual pay growth has fallen back below that of the private sector.

The Government’s budget in Summer 2019 included a 2.75% pay-rise for teachers and 2.5% increase for police.

ema consultancy’s report also highlighted recommendations of best practice, including providers proactively reporting – in advance of anticipated legislation – the ‘pay ratio’ of their Chief Executive to their median employee.

Ian Robertson, executive director at ema, said: “With unemployment at such a low level, housing providers are operating in a really competitive environment as they look to attract high calibre talent.

“We continue to see housing organisations move to flexible employee benefit and total reward schemes providing agile benefits for an agile, diverse workforce. Given wage growth looks low compared to other sectors, and especially commercial businesses, this holistic approach will be important in retaining and attracting staff.

“From 2020, large listed companies will have to report and explain the pay ratio of their Chief Executive to their median employee. There are also calls for a focus on the ethnicity pay gap. Although this doesn’t yet apply to the housing sector, we suggest it would be best practice for providers to start doing this so that they are ahead of the curve.”

To support HR housing professionals looking to benchmark performance and report on pay gaps, ema is launching a new Pay and Reward Club in January. The club, which will be free of charge for existing pay clients, will provide trends and outcomes of pay increases, benefits reviews, non-exec trends and HR legislation updates. Those interested in joining should email ian.robertson@emaconsultancy.org.uk


Ian Roberts EMA Consultancy

Ian Robertson

Executive Director

01926 887272