The number of out-of-work architects has soared to 2,055 – equating to seven per cent of all registered architects in the UK
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the official number of claims for unemployment benefits by architects is six times higher than it was this time last year.
The trend appeared to have stabilised in June, when only 15 new claims were made, but figures revealed today show that a further 275 architects have been forced into the dole queue since then.
The true scale of the impact on the profession could be even greater with many architects thought to be subsisting on personal savings, or their partner’s income.
‘Unemployed architects who have made national insurance contributions can receive contribution based Jobseekers Allowance, regardless of savings or earnings of a partner,’ said a spokesperson for Jobcentre Plus.
Intriguingly, the official figures show there are currently 2,055 claimants who declare their usual occupation to be ‘architect’ but only 1,995 who are wanting to return to the profession.
According to a spokesperson for the ONS, this could be caused by some unemployed architects choosing to change career or look at work outside of their profession to stay employed.
However, Alistair Rigden of built environment recruiters Solution Recruitment remains upbeat. He said: ‘It must be at least two months since I spoke to a client who says they have just let someone go or are about to let people go. That was the trend at the start of the year. But look at this week: I’ve taken in four vacancies in the Oxford area and further two in Bristol’.
Delwar Hossain of Adrem recruitment also thinks the situation has now ‘stabilised’. He said: ‘There was a big flurry of companies making redundancies and, in some cases, shutting down but this has massively slowed down’.
The level of unemployment for architects ‘has already increased and now it is marginally growing,’ added Hossain. ‘Until November everybody expects the market to maintain itself. From our perspective, we’re just grateful there’s not another big wave of redundancies being planned’.
Hossain commented: ‘The best thing unemployed architects can do now is try to keep their skills sharp and the mind occupied’.