Sydney Market Update – Autumn 2017

Sydney Harbour Bridge with blue sky

Welcome to the Sydney market update for the Architectural and Interiors market for the beginning of 2017. The feeling across the board is one of being ‘cautiously optimistic’. The majority of the sentiment from our client base is for a solid 2017 but not quite as busy as 2016.

For us, things have certainly been busy in the office since we started back, seeing a steady flow of new positions listed with our Sydney team. We still find ourselves firmly in a market that is under supplied with candidates with the relevant experience and a client base that is having to often reassess their hiring options as they are unable to find that ‘perfect’ candidate.

One positive knock-on effect of this for our candidates, is that we are still seeing that salaries have increased through 2016 as a result of the supply/demand situation. Many candidates that are coming into the market are seeing that they are able to get 2-3 offers to compare, really putting them in a position of power.

Another positive effect of the shift in market forces is that candidates are able to come in to see us for genuine ‘career management’ advice. We are able to provide different avenues and paths to candidates as a result of working with a client base that is more diverse and in many cases open to considering candidates with a different skill set.



The sector that continues to dominate is the multi-unit Residential market, this sector continues to provide numerous opportunities, especially for Project running Architects. There is a current high demand for Architects that can take larger projects from DA stage, right through to completion including running a small team. However, it is our understanding that the residential market is expected to drop off this year:

In the recent AIS construction forecast the following was prediction was put forward ‘Since late 2013, residential construction, and particularly, apartment construction, has been the biggest performing sector. Melbourne and Sydney have lead the way, with a record number of dwellings approved and commencing during 2015/2016. The outlook for the 2016/17 financial year sees a shift in construction starts, with predictions that the residential sector will come off the boil and hospitality and retail showing the best signs of growth going forward’

One area that is helping the NSW market is the infrastructure sector which is benefiting from a number of state government funding projects. We have already started to see an increase in the demand for Architects with Rail/Infrastructure experience from either the local market or overseas. The others area that appear to be ‘hot’ at the moment are Educational and Healthcare, we are inviting candidates with solid experience in these areas to get in touch to discuss their options.

In terms of the types of roles that are available, the main demand at the moment in Sydney within Architecture remains for good all-round, mid-level Architects. Candidates at the 4-8 year level are in particularly sought after as companies look to build strong teams and have employees that can grow over time with investment from within.  Companies are also very keen to find good Project Architect’s with the ability to move into managerial roles within a relatively short space of time. Therefore candidates with 10-15 years’ experience that are looking for a challenging role and would like to work towards an Associate position should consider getting in touch with us!

We are seeing that the demand for BIM software skills also remains strong, reflecting the continually increasing decision by practices to move into this area.  Whilst in-house training of staff is on-going, the demand for those with strong experience (minimum 2-3 years) in Revit and ArchiCAD remains very high.


Interior Design

The Interior Design market does not differ too much from the Architecture market at the moment, in so far as things are very busy and there is a positive outlook from most of the companies we are speaking to on a regular basis.

Interestingly, the start of 2017 has seen a number a high profile firms looking for very senior, Director level candidates in strategically created roles. These roles are being created in the corporate fit-out sector, which we are hearing is incredible busy at the moment.

The retail and hospitality markets have seen a cautious start to the year off the back of a very positive 2016. This was driven by a number of major projects including Barangaroo and the Tramsheds developments that were responsible for a large number of new restaurant/bar openings towards the back end of 2016.

One interesting difference we are seeing, is that there are slightly more contractor opportunities in the Interiors market. We have seen a number of long-term Interior documentation and design roles listed since the start of the year, many of which have been with a view to a permanent role.

Final word

So very much a mixed bag so far and a very interesting start to 2017. Let’s see what the rest of it brings…


Jamie Keay

Partner – BT&P Sydney

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