Building opportunity

How social housing can support skills, talent and workforce development

One in seven people of working age in England live in social housing. Partly because of how the limited supply of social housing is allocated, tenants are more diverse than the population as a whole and more likely to live in relative poverty. Strategies to tackle the big workforce, growth, cost of living and inequality challenges the country faces must therefore include and work for its five million working age social housing tenants.

This report, written in collaboration between the Institute for Employment Studies and Learning and Work Institute, seeks to explore the employment and labour market challenges for social housing residents; how social landlords are working to support their residents and local communities; and the steps that we could take in future to improve employment, incomes and wellbeing. The data throughout the report is (unless otherwise stated) drawn from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Labour Force Survey.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:
Our research shows that if we want to increase employment, we need to provide more support for social housing tenants. It also shows the positive role so many social landlords are playing in providing that support already. I hope this report helps make the case for a joined-up approach to increasing employment with social landlords as key partners.
Talking of the need for a new Plan for Jobs, Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director of Communities that Work, said:
We need a new plan that can invest in specialist employment support for those out of work and who want to work; broaden access to mainstream employment services; strengthen local partnerships and alignment with wider services like health, childcare and transport; and works better with employers.
Talking of the opportunity to support innovation, Eamon McGoldrick, Managing Director at the National Federation of ALMOs, said:
The report shows the strong case for government to work with the social housing sector to encourage, support and fund innovative approaches to employment and skills support that can be delivered through and with social landlords. As a starter, there would be significant value in trialling the ‘Jobs-Plus’ model in the UK, which is a well-evidenced approach to supporting people out of work in the most disadvantaged communities, taking a place-based, joined-up and work-focused approach to engaging residents and supporting social action.