Market Update: Sydney Architecture and Interior Design, Autumn 2021

24th March 2021 / Market Updates
Jacqueline Liddicoat

Welcome to the overview of the Architectural and Interior Design job market that covers what we’ve seen over the last few months in Sydney for the start of 2021.

This report will hopefully give some insight into what is happening in the NSW Architectural and Interior Design job markets from our vantage point of recruiting for a vast range of Architectural and Interior Design firms in Australia.

Architecture – Action!

Photo: Pip Christie

We’re pleased to announce that it’s been a relatively active start to year in Architecture, with the sentiment being pretty positive from our client base in relation to how they are viewing 2021. Certainly we have seen a spike in demand for good project-running Architects to work on a broad range of Multi-unit Residential projects. The confidence in this particular market sector is reflective of the positive sentiment that is returning in general in regards to how Australia has handled the Covid-19 situation and the upcoming Vaccination rollout.

As highlighted by some our Clients, part of this growth could be based on the fact that residential developers are banking on Australia being an attractive migration option based on our response to Covid-19 pandemic. Couple this with the record low interest rates available and stamp duty exemptions on offer, demand for apartments is on the rise again.

In other areas, the Education, Health and Public sectors have been relatively busy so far this year as the government have kick-started various major projects, especially within the public school sector. Demand for Project Architects with strong Education experience remains high.

Following the royal commission into the building sector, there has been an increase in demand for highly skilled Architectural Technicians. Candidates with exceptional construction documentation experience are seeing a rise in opportunities as practices are being requested to provide more detailed drawings to developers and builders.

Sought after candidates ‘feeling the love’ this year so far, are strong Project Architects with a minimum of 8 years’ experience under their belts and good job running/client handling skills. We have managed to secure a number of great candidates’ wonderful new roles and are still seeing new positions come in regularly, especially for candidates with Multi-unit Residential/Mixed used residential project experience.

Photo: Daniel McCullough

Another key take out on the market at the moment is the increase in contract roles that we have seen since the start of the year. Whilst things have been positive in Architecture since January, we are still in a post-Covid19 world and there still remains a degree of uncertainty. This leads to companies wanting to engage candidates in 3 or 6 month contracts whilst they see how projects and the market pans out, as well as how the contractors perform in their roles. This method isn’t always the candidates preferred method of being engaged but it can often turn out to be a great way of trying out a client and role before committing long term!

Interior Design – Getting there

Interiors remains a bit of a mixed bag at the moment with some parts of the market busy and some still remain quiet. The end of JobKeeper may potentially have more of an impact on the Interiors market from what we are led to believe by our client and candidate base. Time will tell on that front.

One other point of interest in the Interiors job market has been the shift towards engaging candidates on contract, similarly to the Architectural market, this is driven by the lack of clear, long term confidence in the market. Positively we have successfully filled a number of contract roles over the last few months that are going really well for both parties!

In terms of candidate skill set trends we have seen a shift in recent months to a more consistent demand for Interior Designers with previous Revit experience. Whilst this not a brand new phenomenon, there is a definite higher demand than say 18 months ago for Revit savvy designers.

Photo: Francesca Tosolini

The area that is traveling best remains the high-end Residential market, this market has been busy for a number of months now for the same reasons as I pointed out in my last market update. It has become increasingly hard to pin down good Senior Interior Designers with high-end Residential experience as it seems everyone is clearly very busy in this market. We remain very keen to speak with anyone on the ‘look out’ in this sector, with good solid experience!

Pleasingly the hospitality sector has started to pick up over the last few weeks, mainly in the pub and club world, though restaurants and boutique hotel projects are also starting to pick up.

Photo: Andrew Seaman

Unfortunately we are not seeing major increases in the office fit-out or the retail design market in terms of immediate demand for candidates but just recently there have been a few green shoots starting to appear in these markets so we remain cautiously optimistic that there will be more work in this sector to come.

Outlook: Crystal Ball Time

Photo: Photoholgic

Overall, we are feeling very positive for the remainder of the year here at BT&P, we recently added a new consultant to the team in the form of the wonderful Cadence who is already showing strong relationship building skills with her stable of great candidates. This move was needed to react to the demand for skilled candidates in the current market and we are feeling very positive about our teams’ future in Sydney.

It has been an interesting 12 months to say the least but, at this moment in time, the sentiment is good and it seems everyone wants to just get on with things – so projects are moving and new opportunities are arising.

As always we are keen to speak to Architects, Technicians, Interior Designers and Interior Architects with strong experience and that are looking for their next opportunity. Please fell free to contact me on [email protected]

Onwards and upwards in 2021 for everyone, let’s make it a good one!

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