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Good news! Architect unemployment returns to record low

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The number of architects claiming jobseeker’s allowance has fallen to just 100 from a high of 2,055 in 2009

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics for October 2015 show that just 100 architects were unemployed and claiming jobseeker’s allowance.

This is the same number of architects on the dole as in June – a record-breaking low based on the current dataset which began a decade ago. The following month the figures edged up to 115, but have since been steadily falling.

Joblessness in the architectural sector peaked in August 2009, when 2,055 architects were registered unemployed and claiming benefits in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The latest data reflects the wider UK picture which saw the national unemployment rate fall to a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent. The number of people out of work dropped by 103,000 to 1.75 million between July and September.


Dave Madden, director of architectural recruitment firm Mustard
‘The recruitment market is still very hot. We are taking more and more positions on – yet the pool of available candidates is not only shrinking, but gone.

‘Are clients still being picky? Yes. Are they now considering paying candidates higher salaries? Yes. The money that is being banded about is huge in some instances. Part 2s getting £35,000 basic salary. BIM managers getting £60,000 offers, and so on. Revit is still the big thing and users who have on-the-job experience can command a 15 per cent higher salary.

The pool of available candidates is not only shrinking, but gone

‘Educating our clients is now a big part and saying ‘no’ is also part of the repertoire. Too many clients have an ideal person in mind when we are discussing the next hire. Instead they need to consider what they actually need for any given project.

‘It is definitely a candidate-driven marketplace and also a passive one. All the individuals that are required are currently working and being kept very busy.’

Andrew Ruffler, director of RIBA North West
‘No one has particularly indicated to me that they are struggling to recruit, although I have heard comments from recruitment agencies that it is candidates they are short of, not jobs.

‘The North West – and Manchester in particular – is really seeing strong demand. The movement into the city by some high-profile practices might mean an increase in talent retention rather than the ‘brain drain’ to the capital we’ve seen previously.’

Lindsay Urquhart, founder of Bespoke Careers
‘It’s still very much a candidate’s market. Demand for talent far outweighs supply and most of the people we’re introducing to practices in London and Manchester are increasing their pay scale by 10-15 per cent when they move.

‘Competition for experienced project architects is fierce and many of the people who receive job offers through us are being counter offered by their current employers.’

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