London's A&D industry sees a demand for talent as the market bounces back in 2022
2022 Global Salary Guide
The architecture and design market in London is seeing a boom like we’ve never seen before.
Those who were in the sector during the 2009 recession will remember the slow return to pre-downturn times. This is not the case this time and the market has returned with serious pace. Projects are nearing completion, new ones are coming online, and lots of practices have resourcing needs. This means that there are huge opportunities for candidates, which is good news for those who are looking for pastures new, as many are.
In terms of sectors, the interiors market has never been busier. In particular, we have seen requirements in private residential increasing. Necessary changes in workplace environments have seen the need for more strategists and consultants to join growing interior design teams.
Meanwhile, the architecture sector has seen an increase in the need to fill large numbers of roles, with residential and commercial vacancies particularly abundant. We are also seeing increasing numbers of mixed-use tower projects in Asia, which are paving the way for some firms on the international market.
Lots of studios are looking to rebuild their teams from the top down and it’s encouraging that we are getting lots of applications to the strategic roles we are working on. It highlights that experienced people are looking to move on in numbers that we’ve not seen before.
We have recently seen a huge increase in business support requirements too. Experienced Studio Managers and PAs are a hot commodity and firms are open to hiring on a contract basis not just permanent – this goes for architecture and design roles as well.
Technology-wise, Revit remains the leading software requirement with BIM Coordinators and Technicians in very high demand, but the candidate pool for these remains limited.
Firms who understand the current landscape recognise that if they are to win the war on talent, candidate experience is key. Timely feedback and attractive job offers are critical to secure the top talent. Employers also need to be realistic with the salaries they offer. Most candidates are receiving multiple offers and counteroffers and we’re seeing earnings in some instances increase by as much as 20%. However, it’s worth noting that this can be partly explained by the stagnation in salaries over the past couple of years.
Company benefits and culture are also set to be more important than ever, not just for attracting new talent but for employee retention too. In the current climate, flexible working is high on most employees’ requirements, and we’ve experienced people decline opportunities if flexibility is limited. There’s also been a marked increase in firms becoming employee-owned, with practices finding that commitment, decision-making, and profitability are far greater off the back of the change.
Finally, the architecture and design industry needs to ramp up its commitment to diversity and inclusion, demonstrating its leadership on a social issue that ranks highly among the core values of its cohort. Firms that embody such ethics will likely attract passionate and valuable employees.