Design and Architecture: Hot in 2015

Job advertisements in the design and architecture sector have almost doubled over the last year, signalling an appetite for people with skills in the field.

The demand for illustrators, animators, graphic designers and web designers has been dramatically increasing with job growth at almost 18 per cent over the previous five years (Job Outlook). This is expected to grow by an additional 15 per cent before by 2018 (Department of Employment).

In the more traditional design field of architecture, demand is also high with Australian employment rocketing. An employment growth of 11 per cent is projected by 2018, also reported by the Department of Employment.

Occupations in high demand

  • Animators and illustrators
  • Architects
  • Graphic designers
  • Web designers

Why illustrators and animators?

  • Australia has cemented its reputation as a world-class animation hub following the release of locally produced blockbuster hits like Happy Feet, Where The Wild Things Are and Wolverine. The result is an increased demand for Australian studios, which has flow on effects to the labour market.
  • Strong competition in the architecture sector is also driving demand for illustrators, who are required to provide higher-quality graphics to pitch and win projects.

Why architects?

Regional director at recruitment agent Hays, Adam Shapely, says demand is driven by the resurgence of the construction industry and a lack of talent following recent economic turmoil.

“The industry took a hit from the Global Financial Crisis and many experienced architects moved into other professions,” says Adam Shapely, regional director at Hays.

A number of other causes are also evident:

  • The improved economy and government investment in infrastructure, such as the Building Australia Fund and National Building Program is driving demand among firms
  • Investments in high-rise residential developments across high-growth areas such as Sydney and Melbourne require highly-skilled and specialised architects
  • The Department of Employment reports that nearly one in five architects are aged 55 and above, meaning firms will be looking for talent to fill staff shortages as their team retires

Other factors driving demand

  • As Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is introduced, all professionals (from designers and architects to engineers and builders) will be able to access construction documentation for a project in one file. According to Shapely, this means roles like building designers and architectural drafters will be more critical in the construction process, while landscape architects are more involved already.
  • The digital economy is becoming pervasive with more businesses moving their business online, requiring web designers and other specialists in the industry.

What skills are needed?

Animators need drawing talent, technical versatility, solid drafting skills, and business skills. They need to be problem solvers with the ability to think on their feet. They also need an end-to-end understanding of the design and film process.

Illustrators require similar skills to animators, as well as the ability to work to a customer brief. They need strong communication skills for making presentations and selling ideas.

Architects should have design talent, business aptitude, social awareness, engineering knowledge and an understanding of relevant law.

Words from an expert

“We’re seeing more job opportunities across the architecture and design market. After a challenging couple of years, skilled professionals are now seeing vacancy activity, particularly in the markets of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Employers are recruiting confident Interior Designers who have creative flare. Candidates must be proficient on 3D Max, Photoshop, Revit and Rhino. The ideal candidate must have a consultative approach to their work and be able to communicate at all levels.

In NSW, employers are cautious about taking on staff on a permanent basis but there are contract roles available. In Queensland we expect demand for contractors to continue to grow this year.

In South Australia we are seeing a stabilisation in the number of candidates available as many have left the industry or state after a couple of years of consolidation across the sector. Confidence is growing in Perth with companies choosing to take candidates on in a permanent capacity rather than on temporary contracts. Town planning is still tight due to local council amalgamations.”

- Adam Shapley, Regional Director of Hays Engineering & Architecture

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