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Bespoke Careers

04 March 2021

04 March 2021

Political changes, remote working & more candidates have all impacted the A&D industry in California

2021 Global Salary Guide

Like most industries, the A&D market in California was impacted by the pandemic last year. However, the increase in candidates, shift to remote working and recent political changes are bringing around great changes and we are cautiously optimistic for 2021.

In the last twelve months we have seen firms go from being swamped with work and project backlogs to a complete slow-down and in most cases, a hiring hold in Q2/3 last year. Some studios made salary cuts, furloughed staff, and had to make redundancies as part of their cost-saving measures. However, we also saw agile, resilient firms not only retain their staff but continue to hire. Small-to-medium-sized local firms have been the most active and those focused on high-end residential, healthcare and institutional buildings are taking advantage of the great talent pool available. 

Moving into 2021 we continue to see candidates at all levels approaching us looking for work. Aside from those that have been furloughed or laid off because of the pandemic, we are seeing applications from some incredibly talented individuals who feel their firm did not look after them well during the lockdowns. The culmination of these conditions means firms looking to hire now have access to incredible talent, offering a welcome change to the highly competitive, candidate-short market of the past few years. 

Some of the more forward-thinking studios have leveraged this hiring lull as a chance not just to source experienced architects and designers they have taken the opportunity to strategically build and strengthen their teams for the future. This includes looking for sector heads who can bring business with them and help them expand into markets. Others have strengthened their operations team with strategic hires in finance and HR which they see as key when re-building. We have seen this kind of role steadily increasing over the last few months and we envisage this trend continuing. 

With pandemic lockdown measures requiring entire offices to pivot to remote working, we saw many firms double down on their systems - hiring IT specialists and consultants to set up their teams. We also witnessed increased demand for architects and designers with specific typology experience such as healthcare and residential. 

One positive aspect of remote work is that the interviewing process itself has become more flexible and efficient. With reduced commutes in traffic, candidates and clients alike have been able to save time. Socially and politically, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought about important discussions on race and inequality in the workplace, with firms speaking out and others working internally to underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion in their hiring and promotion practices. We hope to see the focus on this continue in the year ahead and beyond. 

As we move into 2021, we are experiencing great changes and, although there is no way to predict exactly what we will build together, we believe that architects and designers are well-suited to imagine/create that better future and we are excited to be a part of that.

Download your copy of our Global Salary Guide 2021 here.


Author: Alex James, Managing Director, Bespoke Careers

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