Architecture Firms Look to Hire; But Where Are the Qualified Candidates?

After five rough years, architecture billings are on a sustained upswing. In Chicago, where the number of employed architects dropped 33 percent between 2008-2011, this means firms are staffing up to meet a growing number of commissions.
April 17, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Micah Maidenberg uses Chicago-based firm Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture to examine signs of an improving landscape for architects nationally, and locally.

"Buoyed by the country's nascent economic recovery, Chicago architecture firms are ever-so-slowly emerging from their defensive crouch. The recovery is in its infancy, but partners say they're looking to hire and are jostling to compete for a growing number of commissions. Hot sectors include apartments, office interiors, health care and higher education."

"But as architecture firms maneuver to staff up, they still must contend with the aftermath of the Great Recession," adds Maidenberg. "The labor pool of seasoned building designers has been battered by years of layoffs, forcing many into early retirement or out of the industry. Meanwhile, though, more people are enrolling and graduating from the nation's architecture schools."

"Of course, the plodding pace of the recovery in Chicago and the Midwest, combined with the trauma of the industry's lean years, has firms adding employees slowly and carefully. And they're paying less, on average, for entry-level architects than they did before the market crash."

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Published on Monday, April 15, 2013 in Crain's Chicago Business
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