Two trends for 2022

We are three months into 2022 and two things have really stood out to me in the world of housebuilding recruitment.

Let’s start with salaries. And it’s probably not what you are expecting.

The last three people I have placed had an average uplift in basic salary of 4.4% as a result of their new jobs. Hardly budget-busting in our inflationary world and somewhat counterintuitive in an ultra-competitive staffing market.

So given the modest increases in basic salaries what motivated these candidates to make a move?

There were no dysfunctional relationships with their managers or job insecurity to precipitate a move. It came down to the following factors:

Better benefits: The basic salary increment was small but when combined with better car allowances and more aggressive bonus schemes the maths stacked up to a significantly more attractive overall package.

Greater opportunity: An uninhibited path to the next rung on the promotional ladder, greater number of projects to work on, the challenge of turning around an underperforming business. The key here is the opportunities were real and specific, not vague and generic. 

So the takeaways are: Have you benchmarked your benefits package recently and is it genuinely competitive or is it holding you back in recruitment and retention? And are you able to offer a new employee a fast path or exciting projects to enhance career development?   

The second notable is flexible working.

If you are going to be competitive in recruiting staff this is no longer a luxury, but an absolute necessity.

Senior candidates have withdrawn from interviews when they have considered the real impact of relinquishing working from home two or three days a week to go full-time in the office with a new employer. 

Covid working practices have completely reformed people’s expectations in our industry. We simply can’t push the toothpaste back into the tube. For businesses that insist on five days in the office recruiting will be hard and retention will be harder. The effects will be a slow and painful drain on the company’s talent.

House Prices Continue to Soar

The average selling price for a UK home has cleared £260k for the first time according to Nationwide building society.

Historically low levels of housing stock on the market has created fierce competition amongst buyers. The prospect of rising interest rates later in the year has only intensified the urgency amongst those looking for a new property. 

House prices rose by an average of 1.7% in February alone dragging the rolling twelve month price increase to a whopping 12.6%. 

Given the rising cost of living this has perhaps been a surprise, although it should be noted that competition amongst mortgage lenders has produced some very attractive fixed rate deals in recent months.

How long they remain available will depend on how determined the BoE is to raise the base rate over the next few months.

Likewise, will the forthcoming squeeze on household budgets take it’s toll on buyer appetite?

Only time will tell! But for now it is definitely a seller’s market.

First female house building CEO

Taylor Wimpey broke new ground in the sector by appointing Jennie Daly as their new CEO. No listed housebuilder has ever appointed a woman as their CEO before. 

Daly has been with Taylor Wimpey for eight years in various planning and group operational roles and replaces Pete Redfern who resigned in December for personal reasons. She officially takes the reins after the AGM in April although Redfern’s 12 month notice period allows for a transitional period.

Taylor Wimpey considered multiple external candidates for the position but ultimately chose Daly as the internal candidate. Being able to point to the CEO as having progressed within the business from Planning Director will be a good news story Taylor Wimpey can use to recruit and retain staff at all levels.