There’s positive news for jobseekers in Australia’s architecture market, with most states and territories reporting increasing demand for their skills.
New South Wales
In New South Wales there is an abundance of work. The market is evenly spread in terms of supply and demand, unlike Western Australia where there is a talent mismatch. Employers in the West often find that candidates lack the skills they need and consequently the top talent is in high demand.
In South Australia, and following the contraction of the architecture employment market in recent years, many firms are now heading towards full capacity. This is a positive change for the market. We have also seen many new openings for graduates who can apply their REVIT drafting skills.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra is yet to follow suit, however a lot of practices are waiting for tenders to come through. Until then, they are focusing on candidates with a good level of local experience.
Victoria’s architecture and interior design markets are performing well. We continue to see a big focus on residential and multi-unit residential projects and employers have shifted their focus to recruiting on a permanent rather than temporary basis. This is because employers in Victoria want to attract and importantly retain the best staff, and they have the project pipeline to support this.
Within Victoria’s town planning market, there is a shortage of statutory planners with local Victorian experience as well as transport planners.
In Queensland employers within both architecture and interior design are focused on recruiting candidates with strong Revit knowledge and experience. We are finding within architecture that employers prefer to recruit on a temporary basis as it offers flexibility for project pipelines. The interior design space is looking for senior level candidates who can generate more business for the company.
Projects that are being recruited for include multi-residential (the bread and butter for all firms at present), hospitality (working closely with GMs regarding interior fitouts) and commercial workplace design. The market has a strong focus on multi-residential projects and city refurbishments, creating new spaces for student accommodation and commercial workplace design to increase occupancy.
In other trends, employers are increasing the use of Revit exams to confirm a candidate’s credibility.
With demand increasing in most regions as practices rebuild their teams, we are seeing candidate shortages across the country. In response, employers are offering flexible working hours and when possible design professionals are working more from home. This is a positive trend within the architecture (and engineering) sectors for roles that can be completed on a laptop or desktop.
Also in response to the skills shortage, architecture firms are offering more internships in order to identify entry-level talent before they graduate. If an intern performs well they often receive a permanent job offer.
Companies in rail design are looking for local candidates who can start immediately, and will also recruit skilled labour from overseas when necessary.
Skills in demand
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for good mid-level Architects. Thanks to low interest rates, residential and commercial redevelopments are taking place, as are new commercial construction projects.
In addition, Revit Architects and Revit Technicians who can utilise 3D design and rendering are also needed due to the emphasis on the design scope of the projects. Revit technology is far more efficient and effective to use, and is geared to create better design and the flexibility to accommodate design changes.
Revit Documentors at the senior and mid levels and Revit Interior Designers are also all sought given the current focus on residential and multi-unit residential projects. For the later, senior level staff are sought to manage projects and see the project through. Candidates need good design and Revit ability.
Project Architects are in demand following high levels of mixed use development applications. For example, in Adelaide there were 400 off plan apartment sales in 2014, yet in 2015 there are 2,400 apartments in the planning and design phase, with many now being delivered.
Design Managers within retail, commerce and hospitality are sought, as are commercial and hospitality Interior Designers for hotel fit-outs and upgrades. The demand is most notable for candidates with strong design skills from an interior design and architecture perspective who can work on high-end finishes in hotels.
Associate level candidates are also sought. There is a stronger focus on leadership, generating business and developing strong business relationships. Employers look for candidates with a strong understanding of the local market.
Statutory Planners with local experience are in high demand but short supply. A lot of infrastructure projects are underway, but employers are struggling to find experienced Transport Planners and are therefore considering Statutory Planners for these roles. This is reducing the number of Statutory Planners in the market. Mid-level Statutory Planners are in short supply in both the private and public sectors given low interest rates and increased developments.
Similarly, Transport Planners are also in short supply. As noted above, employers find it challenging to identify experienced Transport Planners.
Urban Designers from a planning background are also sought. Given that this is a very unique area of design, there is a shortage of suitable talent.
Finally, Landscape Architects are in demand in Adelaide thanks to continued local government funding for Streets for People, which focuses on improving public spaces. Both public and private sector roles are being created.
In other trends, career-savvy architects are up-skilling in CAD and Revit in order to present as a highly-valued candidate. When candidates look for their next role they rate stability, career progression and the design philosophy of a practice highly. They are also looking for an employer that will offer career development and ongoing training.
In a final trend, as the importance of 3D design increases a number of 3D Visualisation specialists are consulting their services so that they can work remotely, saving costs and producing 4D designs in real-time. This allows clients to experience a walk through design experience of the project.