Market Update: Sydney Architecture and Interior Design, October 2020

26th October 2020 / Market Updates
Jamie Keay – Partner – Sydney

Welcome to the Sydney Market Update for Spring 2020. I thought it was high time that I brought you all up to date with what’s happening in the Architectural and Interior Design job markets here in Sydney! My last video and comprehensive overview was done working from home during the height of the lockdown and whilst juggling a young family and working full time had its very occasional highlights, I for one am very happy to back in the office!

Actually I’m sure if you ask my kids, as a home school teacher, I make a very good recruitment consultant!

The current state of play

So how are things out there in the market? Well first of all let’s look at Architecture. Positively, over the last 3 months, we have seen a slight improvement in the Architectural Job market, this has coincided with the return of the majority of our client base to their offices in some form, either full time or on a staggered basis. We have been having many very interesting conversations recently about working from home versus working from the office. Feels like the jury is out at the moment but what is plain to see is that it does vary from person to person and from company to company. Fascinating!

Thanks also to everyone who responded to our Covid survey recently – we had a terrific response and it really outlined the pressures and experiences that we have all been facing this year. Please let us know if you missed a copy of this – it makes for a good read and takes us back to the start of the Covid era – we really are all in this together! Click here to check it out.

So where is the work?

At this stage, the work has been evenly spread across sectors with sporadic demand for Architects with multi-unit residential, educational, commercial, and Health experience over the past few months. Senior Architects with strong concept design skills have also seen interesting opportunities pop up. The local government has been trying to fast track a number of ‘shovel ready’ projects in order to help the economy along although we aren’t quite there yet, hopefully, this will start to positively affect the Educational, Health, Public, and Government project sectors.

Feast or Famine?

Overall it feels like a story of the ‘haves’ and the have nots’ – there is a real mix of companies that are busy at the moment with no real pattern to which sectors are doing particularly better than others. Sentiment therefore can be quite mixed, some Clients feeling positive and busy with others experiencing very much the opposite. That said, we have, in the past few months been placing a number of candidates in roles working on Mixed-use and multi-unit residential projects and single high-end Residential seems to have some momentum. On the other side of the spectrum, one unfortunate trend that we have noticed is that the larger, higher-profile Architectural studios seem to be quieter and the ones more likely to be letting people go over the last few months, understandable with many larger projects having gone on hold in the early days of the Pandemic.

Now on to Interiors…

I’m not gonna sugar coat this…it hasn’t been pretty in the Interiors market over the last quarter, with many firms doing it ‘tough’. Obviously projects in the corporate, retail, and hospitality sectors have all been hit hard as a result of the Pandemic restrictions. Hopefully, these industries will bounce back when restrictions ease further. Pleasingly, in the last week or so, we have started to see some more confidence returning in conversations with our clients but it’s not yet resulting in new positions. It remains to be seen as to the volume and type of work the commercial sector will experience in the future – there has been much conjecture around the Post Covid workplace – interesting times ahead in that space no doubt.

Similar to Architecture there have been a number of incredible opportunities for Interior Designers within the high-end residential sector. It seems the canceling of overseas holidays, coupled with the fact that people have spent so long at home, has resulted in an uptick in new enquiries for our single residential Interiors clients, especially in the high-end market.


In any given year we are typically able to fairly clearly see what sectors of the market will strengthen or indeed weaken, however it would be a tad presumptuous of me to try and do so in what is still a time of uncertainty and fragility. Whilst there is a general expectation that sectors such as education, affordable housing, health and infrastructure should kick on, how quickly this will translate into new roles and increased activity still remains to be seen.

Hopefully, the governments recently announced ‘job maker’ scheme will provide some new opportunities and we have found Clients mention their interest in how this might work for them and potential new hires.  As a result of this, we are interested in hearing from candidates that are eligible for the Job Maker program, for more information check out the following link to see if you are eligible.

So that’s about it for this quarter, as ever thanks for reading thanks also to all our amazing clients and candidates, I’ll be back in a few months to provide an update on the market but please feel free to emails me at [email protected] for any feedback or further questions regarding the above.

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