Sydney Market Update – Spring 2016


Welcome to the Sydney Architectural and Interior Design Market update for spring 2016! The overall sentiment of the employment markets, at the moment, is that things remain very busy and that our clients are also flat out! The pleasing aspect of the current market in Architecture and Interiors is the range of projects that we are recruiting for, with Residential, Commercial, Retail, Healthcare, Transport, Hospitality and Education all appearing to be active.

Our spread of recruiting clients is also interesting, as recently as last week we filled positions at a national studio with 150 staff in the city, right the way through to 2 person, boutique design firm in Surry Hills. We are urging candidates to get in contact with us, as there has never been a better time to consider your next career move!



There is no doubt that the multi-unit residential market remains the driver behind the Architectural industry but, as mentioned above, we have also seen new positions created to work in health, infrastructure, retail and education projects. The roles are also widespread in terms of the types of positions being offered, graduate, mid-level… right up to Practice Manager level positions are all coming through.

Construction in NSW remains very buoyant, a key indicator: 2016 RLB Crane Index, continued to highlight the positive sentiments of the construction industry in its Q2 findings. This report counts the number of cranes visible in each major Australian city’s sky-line as an indicator of the construction activity. Activity is most buoyant in Sydney with 288 cranes indicating that there plenty of new construction work going on. To put this in perspective Melbourne has 148, Brisbane (104), Perth (45), Gold Coast (30), Canberra (11), Adelaide (9), Newcastle (9), and Darwin (3). According to the report a whopping 239 cranes in Sydney can be linked to residential projects, reflecting what we have seen in the current employment market.

Asian developers and foreign investors continue to flex their muscle in the residential development market, with recent significant site acquisitions and developments underway in Sydney.

The main demand at the moment in Sydney within Architecture is 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. Also companies are very keen to find good Project Architects with the ability to run their own projects and take up some of the pressure off of their existing staff. Therefore candidates with 10-15 years experience that are looking for a challenging role and have strong technical and co-ordination skills, are in high demand.

In Sydney there continues to be a huge requirement for Revit skilled candidates and there is definitely a positive ‘supply and demand’ effect on the salaries being offered. We have noticed that there is still a 10-15% loading on those candidates who have strong, hands-on, Revit experience as more and more companies cross over on to the BIM platform.

Interior Design

The Sydney Interior Design Market remains strong, this has really been the case for the 4-5 years in NSW now. We see that most skilled Interior Designers with a couple of years under their belts are never unemployed for long and can find contract and permanent roles pretty easy to come by. Corporate, Retail and Hospitality markets all remain buoyant.

The typical driver of the Interiors market, corporate interiors, remains solid with many firms experiencing a strong first half of 2016. We are hearing that key projects remain keenly fought over, often to detriment of the profit margin in relation to fees.

The Residential interiors market has also been very strong over the last few months with a number of interesting permanent positions coming through for mid-level Interiors Designers in this field. This covers a range of work including one-off houses and the multi-unit residential market.

One notable change in the market is that Interiors candidates in Sydney with previous Revit experience are very much in demand and we expect this pattern to extend well into 2017. We have assisted a number of Junior Designers over the last few months to find great new roles where they are utilizing their Revit training.

So the message for Architects and Interior Designers of all levels, is to get in touch with us as the market remains very strong. It continues to be a great market to find that next career step because of the number of permanent jobs that our Clients are offering. For our Clients we can only emphasise the importance of understanding the current market Conditions and that it may take time to find the right person and that sometimes considering quality alternatives is well worthwhile.

So interesting times indeed! We look forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings for us all. Let’s hope things remain as positive and rest assured you will hear from us soon with another market update and catch up!


Jamie Keay

Partner – BT&P Sydney

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