Market Update: Sydney Architecture & Interior Design, November 2022

15th November 2022 / Market Updates Tips & Advice
Photo: Liam Pozz

Over the last 3 months since our previous market update, things have remained very strong on the job front across Architecture and Interiors. During this period, we have seen that a shallow talent pool driven by limited immigration for two years, continues to contribute to a staff shortage across both industries. It’s also been a busy time for practices in both Architecture and Interiors with multiple sectors actively recruiting. As with previous market updates over the last couple of years, candidates with Revit experience are in more demand than other systems.

All that being said however, we have started to hear of a few very small murmurings about some projects going on hold and things starting to slow a little. Rising construction costs coupled with an increase in interest rates are definitely having an impact on some sectors and there have been a few companies that have started to downsize their teams. To that end we are starting to sense that we are currently in a recruitment market which is a little more ‘mixed’ with some clients full speed ahead and very positive about 2023, with a few others spinning a more cautionary tale

Photo: Rose Lamond


Bearing the above in mind however, broadly speaking now is still a good time to be looking for a role in Architecture. There is strong demand for candidates from 3 years of experience, right up to Director level. Those with strong technical skills and advanced Revit experience are the ones finding the most opportunities in the current market. Within Architecture – Multi-unit Residential, Mixed-used, Education, Healthcare, Defence and Commercial sectors have been tracking strongly since mid-year although there has been a slight drop off within the high-end single residential market. In this niche area, projects are still moving ahead but we are hearing that new project opportunities for 2023 have started to stall due to rising interest rates.

Photo: Agustin Gunawan

There are a number of larger infrastructure projects in Sydney at the moment that are driving construction on a larger scale, Western Sydney Airport, Sydney Metro, West Connex, North Connex and North West Rail link are all underway and providing opportunities for Architecture projects alongside or connected with these key developments.

Notwithstanding interest rate talk, Sydney still has an undersupply issue when it comes to houses and apartments, especially given the long-term expectations around population growth. Developers and other businesses realise this so there is still money being poured into the multi-unit residential and mixed-use markets. Therefore we still have a solid demand for senior project Architects with experience in this sector with a particular focus on the delivery phases of projects.

Photo: Annie Spratt

Looking forward there is indeed sentiment of watch and see for 2023, but our client base, on the whole are positive about next year and just a few are adopting a cautionary approach. Only very recently, there have also been the first few cases of companies having to put a small number of employees off. This would be absolutely the norm in a typical market with projects going on hold, but it is something that we have not seen really since 2020 and the initial impact of Covid. Rising construction costs is definitely the most consistently mentioned factor with concerns that companies have, this alongside with a degree of uncertainty in Australia once interest rates start having a real time impact on spending. So, a mixed bag it is, but overall things are busy and opportunities abound for both Clients and Candidates with the right skills.

Photo: Nur Athirah Hamzah

Interior Design

Interiors remains busy! We are lucky to be running a number of great roles across all sectors at the moment. Certainly, much like Architecture, the residential sector has tailed off a little in the last few months, especially with Senior roles, but there are still a number of high-profile clients asking to find them great new talent. Hospitality is definitely still powering along with a number of major projects being signed off and lots of smaller projects coming through to keep this industry firing. The Retail market has picked up of late too, though the reserve banks decisions to keep raising interest rates may have an impact on people spending and therefore potentially affecting the Retail market in 2023. We guess time will tell.

The workplace design market which was sluggish through 2021 has also really gathered some traction over the last 6 months. D&C firms have really been pushing to find new designers and providing strong competition to design consultancies trying to attract new talent to increase their teams as the work is definitely there. What types of roles are in most demand in interiors? Creative talent with 2-3 years of experience certainly seem to get snapped up very quickly, especially those with High-end Residential or Hospitality projects in their folios. Senior Designers with workplace design are also very much in demand at the moment. In regards to systems, Revit and Vectorworks are still the most commonly asked for skill set in Interiors.

Photo: Will Dunkley

So what to make of it all?

One thing is for sure, predicting what 2023 and beyond holds could be tricky. If we think about the current climate, there are many other things that have and continue to impact people, which can in turn impact decision making. We are in a market that is ever evolving as it grapples with the post covid hybrid work place, and it is definitely not one size fits all. We have more Candidates requesting part-time than ever, we have had a government change, and no one can forget the weather, right? All of these forces both locally and globally seem to have given the market a slight degree of what next?! This can not be underplayed as it has a direct impact on – yes that’s right, decision making BUT it is busy, people still need jobs, Clients need good Architects and Designers – and one thing we can say for sure is that where there is work, there is opportunity! This factor alone will keep things moving – so let’s get on with it!

Jamie Keay

Partner – Sydney

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