Over the last six months, we have seen the demand for architecture and design talent increase exponentially across both contract and permanent roles.
Architecture and design practices are pressing ahead, keen to leave more turbulent times behind and prosper forwards. The four ‘R’s’ continue to drive hiring. Some practices are restructuring – they are looking at how their practices are organised and the changes they need to make. Others are ‘Reshaping’ – and are analysing the make-up of their teams and the people they need to remain competitive. Another group of practices are simply ‘Replacing’ – they are making changes, particularly at the c-suite and director level with those they believe can take the practice forwards with new skillsets. Lastly, we are still seeing some practices take the opportunity for ‘Reinvention’. Some practices are soul searching and making the decision to reinvent themselves, some want to focus more heavily on equality, diversity and inclusion, and others are focussing more on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
After careful data analysis, we bring you the top 10 most in-demand people in the architecture and design sectors for 2022.
Our top 10 includes:
The demand for Architectural Technicians, Architectural Technologists, and Architects with great technical skills remains.
Martin Bennell, Managing Director of FRAME Recruitment says: “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic when vacancies hit an all-time low across the sectors, practices were still interested in seeing CVs from individuals with expert technical skills. This hasn’t changed and the demand is increasing as the year continues,”
The need for these people who possess skillsets in detailing and drawing is outweighing the need for more years of experience.
“If an individual has Revit, and 1:5 details and 1:1 details especially in RIBA stages 3 to 5 they are unlikely to struggle to move to the next stage in their career.”
Individuals with large-scale scheme experience
Large-scale infrastructure, rail and housing developments are in full flow this year. With a large number of these types of projects comes the demand for individuals of all levels with experience in this work.
“Practices are looking for people with specific skills. They want those who have meticulous attention to detail, can show perseverance rather than needing instant gratification and who can multi-task. Knowledge of UK building regulations and experience of conducting site surveys is really sought after.”
Mid-weight FF&E Designers
Mid-weight FF&E Designers with residential or hospitality experience have been notoriously difficult to recruit for practices, and our clients are relying on us more than ever to deliver on these searches.
“The issue is that people don’t tend to set out to do this role. It is often a role that they develop within a practice. They come from different experience backgrounds, from procurement to end design, to furnisher designer, to name a few. This means that when a practice loses someone, trying to find a replacement with the same experience and proficiency is nearly impossible.”
Interior Designers with workplace sector experience and Revit software proficiency
Practices operating in the workplace sector are busy and in demand. Many businesses are seeking their services to redesign their workspaces. Some are downsizing in line with new working styles whilst others are upsizing and changing the use of space. New gyms, kitchens, learning and development areas, outdoor spaces and hot-desking zones are all common features being requested. This has created a need for experienced Interior Designers to join practice teams to work on workplace projects.
“Practices will struggle to find Interior Designers who are extremely proficient in Revit, especially in this market. Unfortunately, the same practices don’t have the time to cross-train people to Revit, leaving a skill gap in this area.”
Senior Designers with hospitality sector experience
The uptick in demand for hospitality projects means that Senior Designers with this type of sector experience are greatly needed. Not only are new projects being created but projects that were put on hold during the pandemic are now active again. From refurbishments on cruise ships to new hotels being designed, the sheer number of Senior Designers required within practices means that new additions to teams are required.
“We see employers ‘bear hugging’ their Senior Designers – they don’t want to lose their knowledge. Plus, many of these Designers are holding tight in the hope that their tenure and experience will promote them into a director position within their practice. Employers are finding it hard to be able to offer something attractive enough to lure these people from their current employers.”
Senior Designers with hospitality experience and AutoCAD are a niche group of individuals and those that will be snapped up if they enter the job market.
IR35 and the pandemic have made an impact on the number of contractors available in the market. It is not newsworthy that technicians with Revit or Vectorworks software experience are in demand. However, the demand for contractors with this experience is extraordinary and the availability of these people has swiftly declined over the last two years.
“Practices often need a flexible approach to solving workforce or skill shortages internally and contractors have traditionally plugged these temporary gaps. The most attractive contractors, on top of Revit or Vectorworks skills, are career contractors, those who can work independently and who have varied project experience.”
Unlike the permanent Revit Architect and Project Architect opportunities, practices need contract Revit Architects and Project Architects in place to support projects and teams, rather than run the show.
“Contractors who can slot into place quickly and aid the project lead with their workload are precious and are people that practices are eager to take on. We hope that some of those who have moved from contract to permanent employment might make a U-turn this year and return to contract work. They will not have any issues finding regular work.”
Whilst there remains little desire for Junior Interior Architects, practices do want mid to senior-level candidates. However, these mid to senior Interior Architects do require technical package proficiency and experience in construction drawings. The demand is currently at its greatest in the hospitality and residential sectors.
Designers with Vectorworks software experience
The hospitality sector is super busy right now and this has created greater demand for Designers with Vectorworks software proficiency who have experience working in this sector.
“Customers are demanding visuals from both a 2D and 3D perspective to make final decisions. Practices are under pressure to offer experiential designs that their customers can enjoy from different angles to really get the feel of what the designer is trying to achieve.”
Project running Architects
New projects need Architects who can hit the ground running straight away. Experience in running projects is invaluable right now.
“Our clients need Architects who can run projects from start to finish. They need them to meet directly with clients so exceptional face to face customer service skills is a must. Running full projects is tough and so many of our clients are seeking potential candidates who can show resilience, entrepreneurial skills, and demonstrate that they can be self-sufficient.”
Project Architects with Revit software proficiency and experience in delivering and signing off projects are unicorn candidates right now.
Architects with Vectorworks
With many practices moving away from Vectorworks and installing Revit as their preferred design software, we are seeing a decline in Commercial Architects, Senior Architects and Project Architects with Vectorworks experience.
“The difficulty for practices who are still using Vectorworks is that many are in competition with those who have already transferred to utilising Revit across the board. Some practices are having a tough time finding the people they need with this skillset and are now resorting to cross-training to meet demand.”
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