Pay in the housing sector will increase by an average of 2.3% in 2019/20, according to a survey of almost 40 housing organisations.

EMA Consultancy, which provides recruitment, training and governance services to more than 200 housing providers each year, found that the sector is planning to dish out rises which are less than the wage growth in other sectors.

Thirty-seven organisations returned the survey, with the lowest indicating a budgeted increase of 1% and the highest 3%. The majority of providers indicated they would be consolidating the pay award into base pay, but several indicated it would be part consolidated and non-consolidated.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that annual growth rate for regular pay (excluding bonuses), between June to August 2017 and June to August 2018 was 3.1%. This annual growth rate is the highest since October to December 2008.

July’s budget announced the Government’s plans to award pay increases of 2.9% extra this year for the armed forces, 2.75% for prison officers and up to 3.5% for teachers. Police will see a 2% rise, the same increase seen by GP’s and dentists.

Ian Robertson, Executive Director at EMA said: The likely pay increase in 2019/20 is an increase on last year (2018/19) where we saw average pay awards of 2% within the sector, however outside the sector we have seen pay awards of 2% plus.

With the UK heading towards full employment and widely reported skill shortages, it is expected that there will be pressure to continue this upward trajectory of wage growth. We are not suggesting that employers need to reconsider their 2019/20 pay award, but there is a need to look more closely at mechanisms to recruit and retain staff if – as looks likely – the housing sector will be less competitive on pay than other linked sectors.

While pay in the private sector in many cases may be higher and therefore looks more attractive, what is positive –as shown by our total reward survey last year – is the rise in well-being benefits within the sector, with the majority of providers offering strong packages which are about more than just take home pay.

If you have any questions about the results or wish to discuss, please contact Anne Elliott or Ian Robertson on 01926 887272 or email: or

EMA brings together experience from a range of sectors including housing, education, health, local government and private sector providing. The breadth of its HR, Learning & Development and Governance Services is extensive and covers recruitment, developing pay and reward and improving performance and organisational efficiency.