Time to move out of London?

23 August 2019

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Trying to write a jobs market update whilst everyone is on holiday is quite difficult but over the last few months, a few trends certainly appear to be growing.

Brexit

Within London, Brexit has constantly been in the background of most decisions and therefore a lot has been delayed until the outlook becomes clearer. There does appear to be a large backlog of potential work building up though and if things start to move forward, practices will be exceptionally busy. Compared to the recession in 2008/9 when we noticed a dramatic reduction in job opportunities across the globe around 6 months before the financial markets were hit, the situation at the moment is far more positive. Although there is nervousness, the underlying workloads appear very strong, just often delayed.

Regional Recruitment

If these delays are putting a halt to recruitment within some London studios, for firms across the rest of the country, the mood is far more upbeat and there is an urgency to take on new staff. We are being contacted by a number of studios in areas like Bournemouth, Cambridge, Bristol, Hertfordshire and Surrey where the pool of potential staff is far smaller and they are therefore looking for Architects who are considering moving out of London. Although salaries can be quite a bit lower, so are living costs and an improved work/life balance may tip the balance. Take a look at our latest opportunities in the Regions.

Sectors

In terms of different sectors, the private residential has certainly improved in recent months and we are actively recruiting for Architects with relevant experience (often with Vectorworks). Large scale residential is still quite active if a little slower than the incredibly busy 2018. For these offices, Revit skills are very much in demand and can sadly be the difference between gaining and not gaining an interview. Hospitality has also been quite strong but again things are a little slower than before. Healthcare and Education have been difficult for a long time but we have recently seen a few improvements which are encouraging.

Salaries

With regards to salaries, we are due to conduct our annual survey shortly but for people who have gained strong Revit skills, salaries appear to have improved a lot. For those who have moved into BIM Coordination roles, there has been particularly high demand. This has, in turn, created a new problem for employers who are having difficulty keeping these staff on a long term basis as they jump from practice to practice to gain increased packages. For the remaining staff, it will be interesting to see the results of our upcoming survey, but I fear we won't see a dramatic change. Although there have been some skill shortages, nervousness about Brexit and a few redundancies from some of the larger practices will probably hold back a number of potential increases.

Seniority

As mentioned a number of times before, Brexit is having an impact and greatest of these appears to be on the number of senior-level strategic positions being put on hold until the outlook becomes clearer. Despite this, we still have a few really fantastic Directorship opportunities with firms who are very much looking to the future. The main level of recruitment, however, is aimed at Architects around 5 years post part 3, quite often on a contract basis in London or permanent elsewhere.

Although the latest results from the RIBA Future Trends Survey below can appear quite daunting, the overall market still feels quite solid and at 9B, after receiving a number of new opportunities, we are quite optimistic about the end of the year. For those who are patient, there may also be a strong rebound in London as the logjam is released.

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