30% pay drop expected for housing association staff

The economic downturn has had a significant impact on pay budgets in the housing sector, with associations cutting the estimated average pay awards by almost 30% since the autumn.

A survey from Smith & Williamson, the accountancy firm, shows that the reward expectations in housing associations have dropped by almost 30% in the past six months.

The highlights from the survey include:
• The median expected pay increase in 2009 is now 2.5%, down from 3.5% recorded November 2008.

• The average predicted pay rise is 2.6%, down from 3.8% in November 2008.
• Responses ranged from no pay increases up to an expected rise of 5.5%.

Rachel Stone, partner at Smith & Williamson, explains: “For our Housing Association Executive Reward Survey 2008/09, we invited housing associations to respond to a broad range of questions, including a number of questions relating to their 2009 pay review process.

“The data was collected before the economy downturn, so we felt that their pay expectations for 2009 were likely to have been reviewed and their plans re-shaped. To ascertain how far the pay landscape has changed, we sent an email survey to 820 housing associations in the UK asking what they expect their average pay rise to be in 2009.”

Ninety housing associations responded to the email survey. They represent a cross section of the different sizes, both in terms of turnover and number of people employed, of associations.

The data was collected between 29 January 2009 and 6 February 2009.