Sydney Market Update – Autumn 2019

4th April 2019 / Market Updates

Bondi Icebergs at sunrise in Sydney

Sydney Overview

Welcome to our first Market update of 2019! Where usually by this time of year we are starting to get a good grip of what lies in store for the year, this year seems a little different! The employment market across Architecture and Interiors is pretty hard to read at the moment and there is a fair amount of caution coming from our client base. It is fair to say that this is maybe a result of being in an election year, with many clients in ‘watch and see mode’.



One thing is for sure, the current drop off in the residential market has had a definite impact on Architectural recruitment. We have seen through the end of 2018 and start of 2019, a noticeable drop off in the demand for candidates with Multi-unit residential experience. Furthermore, a few practices that specialise in larger scale Residential projects, have been forced into letting a number of staff go. This really is the first time we have seen redundancies since the 2008 GFC but are wondering if this is a trend or a more of ‘blip’.

Another interesting point is a number of clients that have been advertising themselves have said that they have been receiving a lot more applications than anticipated, which has also been backed up by what we have seen with our adverts too. The knock-on effect of this, is that we will see clients start to become more and more selective in their search criteria when assessing candidates.

One interesting statistic that we noticed this week was that Seek had released data revealing whether particular industries were experiencing a ‘tightening’ or ‘easing’ in the number applications to roles. Their report detailed that Design & Architecture had experienced a 9.5% increase in the number of applications per role over the last 12 months.

Source: Seek insights resources

Is it all negative then?… Not at all!

We have been busy in the first quarter of 2019, working on new positions within the Education, Healthcare (including Aged care) and Transport sectors. There has definitely been a push in the Education sector, both in private schools and also public schools with the government spending increasing in the Education sector.

Also there are major infrastructure projects underway in Sydney at the moment with the new Airport at Bagery’s Creek and the Central Station redevelopment to name just a couple.

From our conversations with Architectural practices around Sydney, we have seen that the sentiment across the board is that the market is showing mixed signs. The outlook is definitely not as positive as the last few years but there are pockets of activity and projects in the pipeline. Candidates with good experience across the projects sectors detailed above as busy, are still in demand, especially those candidates with Revit experience thrown into the mix.


Interior Design

The first quarter of 2019 has seen a pretty positive Interiors market with particular good signs coming out of the Hospitality and Residential markets. There is still a strong pipeline of key hotel, restaurant and food retail projects coming up in Sydney.

Residentially, both apartment developments and high-end single residential projects have been pretty busy this year and candidates with the above experience have been in demand.

Corporate office fit out and Retail projects have remained up and down with sporadic bursts of activity but no particular upward trending.

We have seen that good mid-level to Senior Interior Designers with experience in Hospitality design are the most in demand in the Sydney market at the moment.


Looking forward…

To be honest, we may have to wait until after the election to see what lies in store for the rest of the year and beyond. There is some sentiment from our client base of wanting to wait and see what happens as a result of a potential change in government by mid-year.

Certainly we are impacted by the Residential market and any return to a stronger market here, will go some way to providing a more positive outlook for the Architectural and Design industries.  A lot of what you read about currently in the construction market, especially from within the property sectors, is often pretty negative but one interesting article we came across recently, was the following thoughts from some of Australia’s key property experts. If you are interested click here to see what some of the experts have to say.

Property Experts Reveal Where They Think the Market Is Heading In 2019

So let’s see what the next part of 2019 has to offer, we look forward to catching up in a few months time in another update to report back in.

As ever, if anyone is looking for advice on their career, help with staffing for their office or just wants more info on the current market, feel free to contact Jamie Keay on 02 9233 4445 or [email protected]


Jamie Keay

Partner – BT&P Sydney

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