Building talent and achieving growth in the Housing sector


29 May 2019

Building talent and achieving growth in the Housing sector

Penna, in partnership with the MJ Magazine, is hosting a roundtable on talent and growth in the Housing sector. Consultant Ruth Lane sat down with keynote speaker Tom Walker, Deputy Chief Executive of Homes England, to discuss the sectors strategic priorities. Watch our video interview below.

Going for growth:

By the mid-point in the next decade the government has set a target for 300,000 new homes to be built per year. Tom Walker cautions “people should be under no illusions that the 300,000 target by the mid 2020s is ambitious”. However, Tom acknowledges progress was made in 2018;

“Last year the country built just over 217,000 homes. That’s up significantly on previous years, but it’s obviously a long way away from 300,000.”

The creation of Homes England was to galvanise these efforts. In Tom’s words, by “creating Homes England the government has decided to give us a clearer mission, more financial muscle and a stronger mandate basically to ‘get on with it’.”

The role of talent:

Attracting and retaining talent will play a huge part in the sector’s ability to deliver on these government targets.

In their Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2023, Homes England’s plans to upskill, digitalise and hire are identified as key to future success. The organisation is ‘recruiting at pace to grow our team of experienced and highly talented staff and to ensure that we have the right technical skills and local expertise’. This is reflected across the sector and in Homes England’s partners.

Tom is aware that the question of “is there enough talent to go around?” needs to be addressed. At entry level, graduate and school-leavers are often lured into the private sector by higher salaries and fast-track progression programmes.

For Tom, the sector must step up their attraction of talent, from the bottom up “with graduate recruitment, training, apprenticeships. For us it’s important that we don’t just bring people into the agency, but they come in, work with us for a while and get out into our partners so we’ve very open to a more flexible way of resourcing”.

Sharing talent across the sector while creating credible and attractive opportunities for it to flourish is directly linked to achieving the ambitious targets for growth set by the government. 

Have your say:  

You can have your say on talent and growth in housing at our round table on the 6thof June. If you’re an executive in the housing industry and would like to attend, please register your interest by emailing

Ruth Lane - Consultant, Housing and Local Government