14 Apr 2022

The housing sector is failing to attract a diverse workforce

In May, Glasgow will host the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Scotland Housing Festival, welcoming hundreds of delegates to a busy programme of sessions, focusing on the theme of “Housing Futures”. One of the sessions is scheduled to explore the importance of achieving a diverse workforce when planning the Institute’s agenda in Scotland over the next 30 years.

For over two decades now the Scottish housing sector has been including equality statements in job adverts with the assumption that that would result in the growth of a diverse workforce! Unsurprisingly, this small gesture has been unsuccessful and there has been lack of further thought put into the practical creation of a diverse workforce and certainly no development of a programme of actionable initiatives.

An exception, PATH Scotland (Positive Action in Housing), which has supported many ethnic minority individuals to gain housing qualifications and placements within the sector, resulting in a small number continuing to be successfully employed in the sector.

But for the wider housing sector to be reflective of the diverse communities it serves, it must do better to attract, recruit and retain a much wider diversity and develop employment approaches to achieve this. The burden of achieving diversity in employment must lie firmly with the sector.

For ethnic minority individuals seeking to identify and pursue careers, the housing sector needs to promote itself as an employer offering opportunities not only to people with housing qualifications but to people with skills and qualifications in a range of areas such as finance, IT or admin.

My sincere hope is that it will not take another 30 years before we see a thriving, diverse workforce in Scotland and that this May, the sector steps up and commits to taking responsibility to bring in new, practical approaches.

If you're a CIH member, you can book you free, member-exclusive place at Scotland's Housing Festival 2022. 

Not a member? Make sure you join us today! CIH events* are now free to attend as part of our membership fee. Standard annual membership at £229 is cheaper than previous delegate rates for the festival and ultimately unlocks access to a wealth of CIH events* and a whole host of member benefits

*Unfortunately, due to the way they are hosted Housing 2022 Manchester, live award ceremonies and dinners are not included within membership.

Written by Rohini Sharma Joshi FCIH OBE

Rohini Sharma Joshi FCIH OBE is a diversity and inclusion consultant.