Sydney Market Update – Winter 2017


Welcome to the Sydney Market Quarterly update for Q3 for the Architecture & Interior Designer Industry!

The overall sentiment is ‘quiet confidence’, as there are good opportunities available for Architects and Designers in the current market. The general feel from our client base is that while it isn’t as busy as 2016, there is a decent flow of new opportunities coming through.

The Sydney architecture and interior design recruitment market remains very permanent driven, with most of our clients being focused on the long term, suggesting a confidence in the workflow. The continued shortage of available candidates with the right skill set and experience also contributes to the number of permanent roles that are currently being offered.

One change we have seen is that certain clients have adopted a more cautious approach to hiring over the last few months, often interviewing more candidates and extending the recruitment period out by a few weeks to find the right fit for these permanent roles.


What projects are out there?

The Sydney Architectural market has remained relatively strong over the last few months but we have seen a softening of the residential market in NSW, as the demand for candidates with strong apartment experience has dropped off compared to 2016.

There are still several residential projects in design stages despite the scale and volume has lessened.  A recent report by Commsec, backs this up, with Edward Boyd from The Daily Telegraph summarising that:

“Home building in NSW is also at highly inflated levels, with dwelling starts in the state more than 62 per cent above the 10-year average. But CommSec notes that activity in the home construction sector is beginning to slow, with the number of new dwellings commenced in the March quarter almost 4 per cent lower than a year before”

Picking up the slack from this drop off in the residential market, there has been an increase in the number of new roles created to work on Transport & Infrastructure, Education (including childcare), Healthcare, Aged Care and Public Architectural projects. This mix of work has been driven, not only by the population growth in NSW, but also by the demand to increase the quality of services to areas currently going through ‘gentrification’.

Anzac Bridge in Sydney at night

What are studios looking for?

Demand in Sydney within Architecture remains strong for good, all-round, mid-level Architects. Candidates at the 4-7-year level are particularly sought after as studios look to build strong teams and have employees that can grow over time. These studios are looking to invest in these new hires from within, which corresponds to the overall trends in in permanent role offerings.

Studios are keen to find good Project Architect’s with the ability to run their own projects and bring new skill sets to the team. Therefore, Architects with 10-15 years’ experience that are looking for a challenging role, and have strong technical and co-ordination skills are in demand to help drive new business for studios.

We feel that our current client base has become more targeted in their approach to recruitment. We can see that there has been more emphasis on finding the exact right person, not only in terms of project experience but also in regards to personality fit.

Interior Design

What are studios looking for?

While the Architecture industry is maintaining a steady consistent workflow, the Sydney Interior Design Market continues to drive recruitment, providing us with plenty of exciting permanent and contract roles. One area in particular is the hospitality sector, where we have been working on many mid-level and senior positions within high-profile, award winning practices.


Opportunities are also coming through thick and fast for candidates at mid-level who can work from concept design and help run projects to completion. The focus from clients is trying to find candidates that can bring new ideas to the table and show true design talent.

The residential interiors market is the one that has increased most in the last 6 months, we have seen that work from the same Architecture market has flowed through to Interiors and has created several new positions. We have certainly seen an increase in the number of Interior Design roles being offered by Architectural firms wanting to see a strong portfolio of apartment projects.

Within the Interiors market, the sentiment from our client is very positive at the moment; many firms have a strong pipeline of work with many studios going so far as to say that they are having to turn work down!

CAD/BIM Platform Trends

One question that we are often asked by both candidates and clients, for various reasons is: what are the demands in regard to CAD/BIM systems?

We have seen that whilst Revit has been in strong demand over the last couple of years in Sydney, the pressure has started to ease of as more and more studios have crossed over on to Revit and students have come into the market with university training under their belts.

As a result, ArchiCAD experience has been in demand as studios who are still using the system have found their talent pool diminished by the transfer to Revit.

Vectorworks demand, particularly in Interiors is still very high. We have seen a number of new listings come through over the last few months, with high profile Interior design studios, desperately needing Vectorworks skilled candidates.

Salaries and contract rates

Once again, the BT&P team have produced the updated Rates and Salary guidelines for 2017. Each July the directors and staff put their heads together to compile a great guide for Architects, Interior Designers and Technicians. This round we were guided by changes in technology, market growth in relation to the consumer price index (CPI), and statutory requirements from Fair Work.

This year has seen a very interesting shift upwards of rates and salaries across the board as a result of the overall demand for Architects and Designers during 2016 in NSW.

Interested? A copy of our Architect, Interior Designer, and Draftspeople salary guide can be requested by e-mailing [email protected]

Jamie Keay

Partner – BT&P Sydney

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