Architecture Talent Roundup – FY 21/22

Anna Roussos , 20 July 2022

Our wonderful sponsor, Anna Roussos from Roussos Recruitment, offers a roundup of the Adelaide architectural employment market – a market with a challenging talent shortfall and an industry that is likely to remain buoyant in 2022.

The last financial year, 2021/2022, saw South Australia’s talent shortage reach new heights, and the Adelaide architectural market remains incredibly buoyant in 2022. The hunt for great talent continues to be a challenge for many studios and is exacerbated by the fact that many design professionals have exited the city or the industry entirely, leaving a much-depleted pool of talent to choose from. A reduction of candidates from overseas and the complications of international travel restrictions has added to the shortfall.

There are three main factors that are driving candidate behaviours currently. The first one is – much like the rest of the world – a flexible work schedule. Secondly, candidates are realising the importance of work/life balance and the effect it has on their mental health, so they are looking for practices whose vision and values reflect the importance of looking after their staff. Finally, career progression is another great incentive, as workloads get heavier and candidates are working harder, and the majority feel that this should be reflected in their job title and salary.

It is noticeable that employers are improving benefits and flexibility with the aim to retain staff and embrace a hybrid workplace. Project pipelines have also remained strong across most sectors but especially in retail and hospitality interiors, large-scale office fitouts and now health, with the promise from the state to improve our health systems. The salary increases we saw throughout last year now appear to have stabilised and are beginning to taper off, a little.

When it comes to specific skills, Revit technicians are highly sought after, along with strong project leaders and project architects across most sectors. That said, those with exceptional design talent are continuing to be of interest. Many practices are also looking to make more strategic hires, so those with higher levels of experience are being sought out to help strengthen existing leadership teams and diversify a practice’s service offering. Overall, candidates with strong experience in managing jobs are highly sought after and we are also seeing an increase in requirements for support personnel for those with marketing, HR and operations skills.

Many candidates are re-evaluating their career goals and looking for a ‘perfect fit’ more than ever before. A well-planned, well-communicated strategy for working within the changing global circumstances will be vital to every studio’s recruitment success. It is essential that organisations are prepared to be flexible and able to adapt to varying conditions as needed.

Optimistically, we envisage an increase in the talent arriving in Adelaide in 2022, particularly from interstate due to the pressure of market conditions and South Australia being a more attractive and stable destination. This should open a fresh pool of candidates and alleviate some of the skills shortage experienced. The combination of competition from other hiring firms, as well as aggressive counter-offers candidates are receiving from their current employers, means that understanding a jobseeker’s motives has never been as critical for recruitment success as it is in this current climate. Overall, we believe and predict that recruitment throughout 2022/2023 will remain strong.

Anna Roussos is the Founder & Director of ROUSSOS, and has close to 20 years’ experience in the recruitment industry across the construction, architecture, engineering, property and civil industries.