The latest Hays Quarterly Report on Architecture highlights the concerns of architectural professionals about the undue focus by employers on a candidate’s BIM skills over design talent during hiring.
The Hays report on architecture for the quarter titled ‘The role of an architect today and tomorrow’ is based on a survey of 201 architectural professionals in Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the personal insights of nine employers.
Hays’ report for January – March 2017 lists out several industry trends including a dynamic residential construction market keeping vacancy activity positive in the eastern states; significant improvement in South Australia’s market over the last three to six months with more private and government projects proposed, fuelled by low interest rates and government subsidies; and limited projects in Western Australia with larger firms seconding internal staff to offices in the eastern states or overseas.
However, one particular finding pertains to the concerns expressed by the respondents in the survey about employers prioritising a candidate’s BIM software skills over their design capabilities, which will have long-term consequences for the industry’s talent pipeline and reputation. While they recognise the need to upskill in the latest technology in order to do their job successfully, they also want to work for employers who embrace innovation, provide opportunities for their staff to learn on-the-job and who keep up-to-date with the latest trends, particularly around new technology and tools such as design-to-fabrication, augmented reality and virtual reality.
HOTSPOTS OF DEMAND
Experienced architects are in high demand in the eastern states and South Australia in response to development projects that require planning and design.
Technicians and architects with Revit software skills remain highly sought after with most consultancies now using this software.
BIM managers are also sought to transition a firm's workforce to a new BIM program and create content and templates.
Architects with experience in leading a project are in high demand with employers seeking candidates who can deliver projects and know how buildings are built.
Contract architects with experience, and available at short notice are being sought to work on tenders or help complete a project stage.
Experienced statutory planners are in demand in states such as Victoria where town planning remains very busy across metropolitan areas, particularly in the public sector. With a high volume of applications being lodged thanks to current interest rates and aggressive lending strategies by banks, councils are looking for experienced and available planners.
Land use planners are also needed due to the increasing number of development applications and the need for strategic land use evaluation.
Transport planners are in great demand, given the focus on improving transport infrastructure.
Interior designers are also being sought by employers due to the increase in work in the retail and commercial sectors and refurbishments in the public sector.