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Bespoke Careers

24 February 2020

24 February 2020

Buoyant architecture and design hiring market in California

2020 Global Salary Guide

The architecture and design hiring market in California remains buoyant despite a slow down in billings amongst architecture and design firms during 2019.  Many of our clients are hustling for talent with new roles coming through across a variety of project types within architecture, interiors and business support.  

There is a significant shortage of senior level architects and designers with 8+ years’ experience.  As a result, many firms are faced with serious questions as they look to promote new leadership within their organizations.   

In search of higher salaries there has also been a trend for designers to move to other industries like tech, especially in San Francisco.  This is also challenging at a graduate level with young designers simply choosing not to enter the industry and many schools not able to generate enough new graduates to meet the need for staffing.

In this competitive market, many firms have been raising salaries across all levels as well as rolling out or increasing bonuses to help retain and attract talent.  To compete with industries outside of architecture and design, we have noticed a variety of firms throughout California introducing new benefits.  Anything from remote working, unlimited PTO and a substantial training and development program have all been initiated. 

Many practices we speak to are championing their use of technology, hiring candidates with skill sets relating to BIM, virtual reality and artificial intelligence as they look to improve processes, efficiency and produce higher performing buildings.  

In terms of people looking for work there is a preference for work flexibility and work-life balance with remote working seen as one of the most desirable options.  The challenge here is to create an exciting and collaborative work environment which is consistent with the firm’s culture.  An advantage to this would be the potential cost saving on office space.

As well as a competitive salary and benefits many candidates are also looking for a firm that is diverse and socially responsible and will base their decision-making on these factors.  Ultimately a firm needs to articulate a clear and compelling company vision to retain and attract talent.

Looking forward, even with some political uncertainly and talk of a looming recession we do not predict a significant slowdown of firms looking to hire.  This together with the shortage of talent means practices will need to capitalize on the best people available and consider hiring a broader, more diverse talent pool.  

Download the California salary & benefits guide PDFs here:

Los Angeles Salary & Benefits Guide

San Francisco Salary & Benefits Guide

Author: Alex James, Managing Director, Bespoke Careers

Salary Guide

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