After several years in which labour was relatively easy to find amid soft building conditions, skills in architecture are now in short supply as job vacancies hit their highest level in several years.

In its latest quarterly report, recruitment outfit Hays said demand for architects had increased, and that many practices were now experiencing difficulty filling roles.

“With demand increasing in most regions as practices rebuild their teams, we are seeing candidate shortages across the country,” Hays said.

In its report, Hays said employers were undertaking a number of initiatives to attract and retain staff, including by offering flexible working hours and opportunities to work from home along with offering more internships in order to identify and secure entry level talent prior to graduation.

Candidates, meanwhile, are looking to upskill in CAD and Revit and are seeking stability, career progression and strong design philosophy in their next role.

The Hays report comes as the latest figures from the Department of Employment showed that vacancy levels for architects and landscape architects were higher in August than for any other time on record since October 2011.

Vacancies for interior designers and urban and regional planners were also at seven and four year highs respectively, that data indicated.

Having gone through a soft patch only a few years ago, the market has now made a significant recovery as work ramps up on multi-residential projects.

According to Hays, the following skills are in demand:

  • Mid-level architects, for work on residential and commercial projects
  • Revit architects and technicians who can use 3D design and rendering
  • Revit Documentors at senior and mid levels and Revit interior designers for work on residential and multi-residential projects
  • Project architects for the planning and design phase of mixed use development applications, especially in Adelaide
  • Design managers with retail, commercial or hospitality experience and hospitality designers for hotel fit-outs and upgrades
  • Associate level candidates with a focus upon leadership and generating new business.
  • Statutory planners and transport planners for work on major infrastructure projects.
  • Urban designers with a planning background
  • Landscape architects in Adelaide for work on the Streets for People projects focused upon improving public spaces.

In terms of states, the market is evenly spread in terms of supply and demand in New South Wales albeit with candidates finding an abundance of work there.

Markets in Victoria are performing well amid a strong focus on residential and multi-unit residential projects and a shift among employers to recruitment on a permanent rather than temporary basis. Town planning and transport planning are areas of need.

The Queensland market has a strong focus on multi-residential projects, city refurbishments and creating new spaces for student accommodation as well as commercial workplace design. Still wary of project pipelines, however, many firms are opting to hive on a temporary rather than permanent basis. Those with strong Revit knowledge and experience are highly sought after.

In Western Australia, there is a talent mismatch as employers find candidates often lack required skills whilst the market remains reasonably quiet in Canberra as practices wait for more tenders to come through.