While architectural design firms see the demand for their growing rapidly, finding seasoned architects to meet the needs of new clients is proving to be a challenge.
During the past year, the demand for architectural design services has risen exponentially, especially in the nation’s largest urban centers. Many firms, however, face difficulty accepting new clients because they are not able to recruit seasoned architects to provide design services. In fact, the competition to hire design professionals with five to ten years experience is described as the “toughest” in 20 years. What has led to this talent shortage?
The Lost Generation of Architects
In 2008, most new graduates with degrees in architecture found few job prospects since existing and new projects were postponed or canceled as a result of the Great Recession and real estate crash. The contraction was not short lived – from July 2010 to November 2010 architectural firms shed 40,000. With no recovery in sight, many people with degrees in architecture looked for work in other professions or started businesses in unrelated fields. Today’s shortage of expereinced architects is a natural consequence of the lack of opportunities during the Global Financial Crisis.
Those who earned architectural degrees during the Great Recession now face another obstacle when trying to enter the profession – the transformation of architectural practice by technology. Many tools used today, such as 3-D CAD modeling and BIM, did not exist five years ago. As a result, architects who are part of the lost generation find they either need to find training programs to learn how to use these technologies or interview with a firm willing to train them.
Some of the solutions architectural firms are using to fill their talent gaps include:
- Investing in training programs addressing local zoning issues that affect design
- Providing on the job technological skills building
- Increase salaries for experiences architects by 15 to 30 percent
- Offer opportunities for lateral movement by employing passive recruiting techniques
Has your firm faced difficulty recruiting the talent you need? If so, what strategies have you tried to fill your talent gap?