JERSEY’S lack of ‘quality housing’ is one of the main reasons businesses are failing to attract staff, according to an agency head.
In today’s business section, Jersey Business chief executive Graeme Smith said that two key challenges in the recovery from the pandemic were developing ‘a stronger culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism’ and addressing issues with the housing market.
Over the last few months the high cost of housing and staff shortages have been flagged as issues for the Island and its business community.
Mr Smith said that Jersey Business, which is government-backed, had received many reports that housing was affecting recruitment.
‘We have an issue with a lack of quality housing, not only social housing but also keyworker and what I class as workforce accommodation,’ he said. ‘In conversations I have with businesses across all sectors, one of the biggest issues they have in filling vacant jobs is the cost of living in Jersey, the prime cost factor being housing.’
He said that a ‘Jersey Plc’ – different components of the economy working together – approach was needed.
‘Tackling site identification, the cost of the planning process, how we use more modular construction and how we incentivise/tax residential developments is key to this.
‘The situation is complex but, with focus and prioritisation, we can start to address this.
‘As an example, some of the schemes being developed in London to provide new high-quality workforce accommodation and shared services are ideal for employees needing a place to live for short periods.
‘This type of scheme could greatly help the needs of our vital construction, hospitality and agriculture sectors and, at the same time, dampen down the inflationary pressures on the private rental market,’ he added.