Recession over?

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Yes and no. Although the news in February was dominated by the UK entering a technical recession, feedback from our clients has thankfully been far more positive. During January it looked like the high-end residential sector was seeing a slowdown, but the last month has seen a dramatic rebound and there has been a surge of new projects following responses to pre-Christmas pitches. These are generally small-scale practices looking for architects with experience in the sector and strong client-facing skills. Although previously these firms haven’t paid salaries as high as the larger AJ100 practices, as skill shortages in the sector become more acute, salaries do appear to be improving; especially for architects confident to take on projects with little support and the ability to run projects from start through to completion. Current roles include a Senior Residential Architect in Islington, Project Architect in Farringdon and an Interior Designer in Chelsea.  

Architects in general, however, are growing increasingly frustrated with the low pay across the industry and therefore around 20% of our candidates (architects – senior architects) are looking to move client-side.  Unfortunately, most of these roles tend to be with housing developers who are still very much struggling with high-interest rates slowing demand and subsequently putting recruitment on hold. With inflation decreasing, hopefully, interest rate cuts later in the year will reinvigorate the market but planning delays are also a large factor in holding the sector back. We are still receiving some client-side roles but admittedly these are extremely popular and tend to get filled very quickly. If you would like to register your interest in these, please upload your details here.

Other areas giving reason to be optimistic are Senior Living and Commercial. Senior Living catering to an ageing population appears to be a growing sector for a number of our clients but sadly not immune to lengthy planning delays. Current roles include an Architectural Technologist and Architect in Hampshire. Historically these roles have been shunned to a certain degree for not being as glamorous as cultural, luxury residential or hospitality but the recent RIBA Stirling Prize Award to MAE Architects highlighted changing attitudes. Despite the repercussions of Covid, we are also still getting a steady flow of roles in the commercial sector. Current roles include a Senior Architect for an AJ100 studio in central London (c.£55,000 - £65,000) and Delivery Architects (c.£50,000).

Despite the obvious challenges to the UK architectural market, it does feel like the worst is now behind us and I expect, over the next few months, the results of the RIBA Future Trends Survey will be back in positive figures. If not, the other popular option during recessions is to look overseas with places like Saudi Arabia investing vast amounts in construction.  

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