Sydney Market Update – Spring 20192nd October 2019 / Market Updates
Welcome to the spring 2019 Sydney quarterly Architecture and Interior Design market update (wow that was a bit of a mouthful!). This report will provide some insight into what has been happening in the Architecture and Interior Design markets, in Sydney, over the last three months.
Broadly speaking, the last quarter has seen variable activity in the number of new roles coming through, both in Architecture and Interiors. This is essentially a continuation of what we have been seeing since the end of 2018, predominantly reflected in a softening of the residential construction market.
The most notable evidence of this variable Architectural market has resulted in some companies undertaking redundancies or a cutting of hours of existing staff, whilst others are strategically recruiting so definitely not all doom and gloom, if we look a little deeper into the market:
Some sectors of the market that have shown more positive signs in recent weeks. The Educational, Health, Aged Care, Commercial, Hospitality and Industrial markets have all shown positive signs from an Architectural point of view, placing candidates with relevant project experience, in higher demand.
Further to this, recent reports point to a more positive property market in NSW as a result of cashed-up buyers, post-election stability, low stock levels and low-interest rates. This has led to a slightly more optimistic outlook and a few ‘green shoots’ within the residential sector.
Looking forward, there have been several significant projects that are about to or have been kick-started, which will likely fuel the demand for Architects moving towards 2020. In Sydney, a number of major health projects, the new Sydney Fish Markets, Sydney Football Stadium and the 2nd Sydney Airport are all projects that will provide plenty of work for our clients moving forward.
In terms of what types of candidates are in demand, there is no ongoing, consistent trend as we seem to be working more on a job to job, ‘as needs’ basis. Nevertheless, there has been a drop off in the requirement for candidates with multi-unit Residential experience and conversely greater interest in those with governmental project experience (schools and hospitals).
Over the last few months, we have seen a few clients demanding to see strong Design focused Architects with a track record of working on competition work and experience driving projects from Concept to DA stage with a surprising softening in demand for Graduate and Mid-Level Architectural candidates (2 – 7 year range) with Revit skills. Where this was possibly one of our most highly sought after candidate profile over the previous three years, roles are now tending to be more strategic and specific in nature and focus.
On a general note, from discussions with our clients over the past few weeks, sentiment appears to have improved across the board with conversations around new projects initiations and their associated staffing requirements.
Perhaps one engagement trend that is worth reporting is a leaning towards offering contract roles in the current climate. This reflects the confidence Architectural practices have who need to resource for a key project but are not entirely sure on the long term outlook. Some candidates, who have never worked in this capacity previously, are having to consider contract roles for the first time, which can be daunting and an adjustment in mindset. Our advice is that contracting can be an excellent way of getting a foot in the door with an office, while often gaining experience in new areas, and well worth considering.
In comparison to the Architectural market, Interior Design has remained relatively steady over the last 3 months. The areas of the market that have remained strong are Hospitality, Retail (with some minor peaks and troughs), Aged Care, Residential (high end private and apartments) and then also Governmental work (Educational & Health).
Strong demand has recently been seen for Interior Designers in the 3-7 year experience range with solid Revit skills as more companies have transferred on to the system, this is particularly high within Interiors teams of Architectural practices.
On the other hand, we have seen the corporate fit-out market continue to struggle over the last three months with many firms having to release a few staff as workflow has slowed considerably. This has generally been the case for both design studios and Design and Build companies who specialise in office fit-outs.
Rates and Salaries
With the variable demand for candidates, there has been some evidence that salaries are being effected. We have spoken to a number of candidates who have been told that salary increases in their existing office have been put on hold for the next 6-12 months.
Our recently published rates and salary guidelines for July 2019, showed a small increase on the 12 months previous, really only reflecting a move at CPI levels. This has come off the back of substantial increases in the five years previous where the supply and demand balance was very much more in the Employee/ Candidate favour.
Should you wish further information on this via a copy of our latest rates and salary guidelines, please email a request to [email protected]
For our clients, we always like to point out, especially in a constantly changing environment, that Bloomfield Tremayne continues to offer a range of services and hourly rate engagement methods that give excellent flexibility to client groups of all sizes, with transparent fee structures and clear options dependent on what your specific needs are.
For more information on these options and which method best suits you, please contact Jamie Keay on [email protected] for more information.
Thank you for taking the timeout to read my take on the job market at the moment, hopefully there is some useful insight in there, I am always open to discussing in more detail, if this has sparked a question, again feel free to contact me [email protected]
Partner – BT&P Sydney