Despite the residential slowdown, architects remain in demand throughout much of Australia as opportunities emerge for work on commercial and public buildings, the latest report has found.

In its Hotspots of Skills in Demand Jan-June 2019 report, recruitment outfit Hays says demand for architects will remain buoyant over the early months of the year.

“The architecture market will remain active in the first half of 2019,” Hays said in its report.

“In particular, Sydney’s architecture market will be buoyant with the emergence of new studios and continued strength in the property market fuelling vacancy activity. New South Wales’s architectural market is no longer predominantly led by residential projects, with demand now high for Architects with commercial, education, healthcare and aged care project experience.

“Queensland will be a market to watch too, wiAll Poststh many large projects underway or soon to commence, such as the Cross River Rail, Brisbane Metro and Queens Wharf Brisbane. Projects such as Queens Wharf Brisbane will in turn provide the opportunity for additional commercial CBD projects.”

“Perth’s market will remain steady, with strong and experienced candidates looking for their next career-advancing opportunity.”

Around Australia, the market for residential building is slowing amid greater caution amongst banks in lending activity, tighter controls on foreign investment and concerns about overheated markets.

In November, seasonally adjusted residential building approvals fell to their lowest level in five years.

Nevertheless, opportunities are emerging commercial and public building amid a healthy flow of new projects across sectors such as offices, education facilities and accommodation.

According to Hays, a number of demand hotspots are emerging amid reasonably strong levels of vacancy activity.

In particular, according to the report:

  • REVIT Technicianswill be needed during the first half of 2019. Given the repetitive nature of this job, it is typically used as a stepping stone to a more senior position. As a result, there is a constant need to replace departing staff and bring on staff for project deadlines. Employers request experienced local candidates who have worked on similar projects. The preferred software is Revit. This market is very candidate short.
  • Experienced Graduate Architectswill also be sought. Employers look for candidates with experience who can work autonomously with little guidance.
  • Landscape Designersare another area of demand. Both graduate Landscape Architects with strong Revit skills and mid-level Landscape Architects are sought, however there is a shortage of candidates with the necessary local practical experience. Those with DA and CC documentation abilities who have worked across varied project types are highly sought after. Soft skills, particularly strong communication skills, are equally as important.
  • Interior Designersare in demand, however there is a shortage of candidates with the necessary experience to lead projects autonomously. A multitude of businesses will interview suitable candidates as soon as they become available. To secure the top talent, such employers need to act quickly and commit with a timely job offer.
  • Revitremains in demand. A lot of businesses are yet to offer their staff Revit training and instead prefer to recruit new staff who already know the software. This reluctance to upskill has added to the skill shortage.
  • Project Lead Architectsare another area of demand. This role requires Architects with exposure to all stages of a project as well as experience leading their own projects. The extensive experience required limits the pool of suitable Architects for this position, hence demand remains high.
  • Design Architects are also sought. Design is typically completed by a firm’s senior architects, often the Directors. Consequently, few Architects gain exposure to the initial concept design stage.

According to Hays, there are a number of strategies which candidates can employ to maximise their likelihood of success in the marketplace.

Candidates searching for new opportunities should create a strong portfolio which showcases their five best projects from inception to conception, Hays says.

Strong software skills are needed, particularly in Revit. This should be demonstrated by sitting tests to demonstrating Revit ability and if possible by documenting a project in Revit through their current workplace.

Those not comfortable with software and especially Revit should consider enrolling in courses and upskilling, Hays says.

Where possible, candidates should diversity their skills across the whole scope of a project and on different project typologies.

For Graduates, Hays recommends avoiding being ‘pigeon holed’, in a large corporate office and being prepared to move to a smaller office to gain all-rounded experience.

Finally, candidates at all levels should consider upskilling.

In its report, Hays notes the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte which claims the ‘half-life’ of many learned skills is now about five years.

“Regardless of your role or level of seniority, it is therefore essential to continuously upskill in order to stay relevant in an increasingly mechanised world,” Hays said in its report.