By Hannah Cooper, group HR director, LRG
Choosing a new career path has always been tricky, even before a global pandemic was added to the mix. While other industries are battered by consumer demand, the property market has always remained buoyant – underpinned by one simple truth: people need houses.
To emphasis this point, cast your mind back to the first COVID-induced lockdown. Video calls were the new normal, gardens got a lot of love, and the job market had sputtered to a stop for some sectors. As the nation stayed at home and people were furloughed where possible, vacancies everywhere were scarce. However, when the country began to open up, the housing market was one of the first sectors permitted to get going again. We were grateful for this as it allowed us to continue recruiting at pace, something that hasn’t slowed down with the arrival of subsequent lockdowns.
The housing market’s resilience was also aided by new legislation brought in to allow key activities related to moving home to restart as long as social distancing was adhered to. It wasn’t the only support the Government lent the industry, the stamp duty holiday further buoyed the sector by encouraging prospective buyers to take the plunge thanks to the savings available.
The Government’s support shows just how invested they are in the sector’s success. This is for good reason, as growth in the housing market generally leads to higher economic growth and increased consumer confidence – vital for the economy to get back on its feet. Between this and the never-ending demand from potential buyers, it means more business, work, and commission for agents and the industry as a whole. This boom for the sector fuels more jobs and opportunities at all levels of an organisation, ideal for driven newcomers looking to make a career and established employees eyeing promotions.
Wellbeing at work
While external stabilising elements like Government support and consumer demand aren’t within our control, internal stability is, and the housing industry ensured that virtual viewings were quickly made possible to maintain social distancing, a proviso of our resumption of work and helpful took to take the edge off the dreaded Zoom burnout.
When the initial lustre of working from home wore off it was clear that isolation and a blurring of work and home meant that our teams would struggle to navigate the working day. It is why we set up our COVID support line for the mental wellbeing of our staff and regularly made calls to ensure teams had everything they needed. Our efforts during the pandemic meant we were nominated for an employee engagement award, and we continue to keep these services open even though the threat of COVID has subsided since it was first put in place.
Progress despite a pandemic
For companies that were able to keep recruitment up after the first lockdown it meant a continuation of staff development from internship level and beyond. As evidence of that, one of our trainee negotiators, Abbie, was promoted to a lettings advisor during the pandemic.
While other sectors were, albeit rightly, focused on maintaining staff numbers, the growth of the housing market has allowed our team to develop our people over a difficult period. This development in a stable and secure sector is something we are always keen to expand on in a diverse mix of roles.
What we value
Like most individuals and businesses, the pandemic was a time for reflection as much as action and it had us home in on the things we value in our company and our people.
Whatever the national or global conditions, the property industry grows, and that progress is passed onto staff who enjoy a wealth of opportunities and the scope to develop their existing skill sets.