For over two decades we have supported individuals in their careers by sharing the best of our specialist market insight and knowledge. In the following interview, Tim Goggin, Manager of the London Housing Finance team, discusses his experience in this sector and the current market.
Why do you recruit for Housing Finance?
It’s rewarding to find candidates to place in organisations which help hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. It’s been remarkable to see how adaptable organisations and individuals have been in the face of immense pressure from an ever changing market with tighter funding. They’ve all shown resilience and a passion for their work.
What major developments have you seen in how the sector operates?
It’s a heavily regulated market and regulations are only getting tighter, notably in response to the 2017 Grenfell tragedy. The changes are of course necessary to prevent any recurrence of such horrific events and have resulted in significant improvements in the quality and safety of housing.
From an economic perspective, the market has responded to financial stresses to become more commercially minded; this has been particularly prevalent recently given the change to the national living wage and the cost of living.
What would a career in Housing Finance offer to a successful candidate?
Housing Finance offers a good balance between commerciality and giving back; those within the sector need to generate revenue, but are also very passionate about supporting communities through high-quality, affordable housing. In that respect, it offers a breadth of experience because it involves the commercial acumen required in the private sector, alongside the social responsibility which is integral to the third sector.
What backgrounds will employers be seeking out in candidates?
A lot of employers will initially look for someone with previous housing experience. However, over the past few years we’ve seen a shift towards taking on a greater number of candidates from outside the sector. This has helped to open the sector to candidates from various backgrounds, and clients have appreciated the new ideas and perspectives generated by this.
What skills and characteristics would give candidates an edge?
You will be dealing with decisions around budgets and statements that affect people’s lives, so you will need to have good communication skills to navigate difficult conversations with stakeholders and business partners. The work also involves reforecasting complex balance sheets and revaluing stock which requires someone who can be flexible with adapting to the changing market. Some organisations will have tens of thousands of assets which may cover several regions, so managing the fluctuation in value is a skillset in its own right.
What development and progression opportunities can Housing Finance offer?
Housing associations often support employees with substantial on the job training to develop their professional skillset and contribute towards professional qualifications that can be a great help with progression. If you work for a smaller organisation you may gain a more diverse skillset because you’re going to be exposed to more elements in the finance function. In contrast, larger associations are likely to have more defined roles and potentially greater scope to progress. How quickly you progress will depend more on the individual’s drive than the market, but the opportunities are there; we have candidates that we placed ten years ago that have progressed to Heads of Finance and Finance Directors.
How can candidates keep up-to-date with the latest developments?
From an Accounting and Finance perspective, it will be important to gain professional qualifications such as an AAT, ACA or ACCA that demonstrate you’re fully up to date with technical legislation. Outside of accounting, the National Housing Federation run conferences which cover the latest developments in the industry.
Contact Tim on the details below to discuss your recruitment or career plans:
020 7557 7667
Venn Group will also be exhibiting at the National Housing Federation’s Housing Finance Conference on 16-17 March. Find Tim and his team at stand 420.