After several years of lean prospects, landscape architects are back in hot demand after a sudden spike in job advertisements and vacancies, the peak representative body for the landscape architecture profession says.

In its most recent announcement, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects says that compared with May and June, the number of advertised positions on its web site was up by 50 percent in July and August.

The organisation also said its own membership nation-wide had grown from 1,400 in February to 1,850 in August – a phenomenon the organisation put down to a more active strategy to engage and meet the needs of landscape architects at different stages of their career.

In a statement, AILA National President Mark Frisby welcomed the latest results, which he said were a much-needed reprieve for practitioners after a challenging time in recent years.

He adds that additional positive signs can be seen through a broader geographic distribution of new employment opportunities across different states and overseas which he says suggests a broader improvement in overall conditions as opposed to a response to a particular set of circumstances within an individual state as well as the emergence of local councils within Australia as a key employer group.

“It is a remarkable situation considering the tough job market that has been present within the profession for the past few years,” Frisby said.

“A closer look at the employment landscape points to a shift in the employment of landscape architects. Government has been a growing area of employment, especially within local government. We are now starting to see individual Councils as some of the largest employers of AILA members.”

The latest results come amid signs of a long-awaited recovery in the broader market for architects and architectural services amid a surge in housing construction and a modest upturn in commercial building activity as Sydney experiences a massive home building and infrastructure boom, markets recover in Brisbane and South East Queensland and a number of high rise apartment projects are starting to enter the pipeline (as well as the recent approval of a new suburb at Fisherman’s Bend)  in Melbourne.

A recent survey in Victoria, for example, found the proportion of firms expecting to put on staff in 2014/15 outnumbered that expecting to shed workers by almost five to one.

That said, that same survey revealed that more than seven in ten firms within that state were planning to offer salary increases of less than three percent, meaning that after 2013 increases were very small, increases in architect salaries are still generally not keeping up with inflation and the real incomes of many practitioners are actually in a state of slight decline.