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Architects fear employers prioritize software over design

Architects concerned that employers prioritize software skills over design capabilities

Architectural professionals are concerned that some employers are 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.

This is one finding from a survey of 201 architectural professionals here in New Zealand and Australia, which are shared in a new report by recruiting experts Hays ‘The role of an architect today & tomorrow’.

Commenting on the findings Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand says, “Architects are clearly passionate about their profession. They are influential creative thinkers who take their responsibilities seriously. They have a strong social conscious and embrace sustainability. They are good communicators and have mastered the art of diplomacy in order to deal professionally and effectively with their clients.

“But they are concerned about the quality of design standards since some employers have made hiring decisions based on a candidate’s BIM skills rather than their design capabilities. At the same time, they recognise the need to upskill in the latest technology in order to do their job successfully.”

Key findings include:

• Architectural professionals are highly experienced, university educated and more likely to be male than female.
• 72% are employed full time. Of these, 70% would prefer flexible working arrangements or part-time work.
• 79% say they have the necessary skills to advance their career – those who don’t, plan to upskill through on-the-job experience.
• Only 19% say there are sufficient professionals in the industry with the right level of Revit skills to meet demand now and in the future.
• 89% say both employers and employees are responsible for upskilling architectural professionals.
• 46% have been hired for a role without having the required software experience – of these, 83% said it took less than 6 months to upskill.
• Over three-quarters (77%) believe architects will always need hand drawing skills.
• Problem solving and creative thinking are the two most important soft ski lls required.
• 42% say offshoring documentation work impacts their job opportunities.
• When asked who is responsible for building a sustainable future, 96% said the government, 83% the architect and 79% the client.
• They use a broad range of devices and tools to practice their job, including desktop (86%), laptop (63%), smart phone (61%), tablet (37%), GPS positioning (16%), 3D printing (13%) and virtual reality (6%).
• They say that in the next few years architects will need to become familiar with digital design-to-fabrication tools (53%), augmented reality and virtual reality tools (also 53%), writing algorithms and software to generate architecture (27%), composites (18%), scripting (14%) and artificial intelligence (12%) in order to do their job effectively.
• No one sustainable tool or practice was agreed upon as a single area of focus for the future; instead architects said they’ll need to employ multiple sus tainable tools and systems in the design phase to offset or minimise a project’s impact on the natural environment, including building integrated photovoltaics, passive building design, energy and thermal modelling, zero waste and carbon materials, greywater systems and rainwater recovery systems.
• Over the last ten years an architect’s influence in the entire project lifecycle has decreased, yet 91% say architects should be part of the building process.
• Some say employers view an architect’s BIM software skills as more imperative than their design abilities.
• When considering a job at a particular practice, the quality of the work (80%), their fit with the vision, culture and values (69%) and the salary (68%) influence them.
• The quality of the work (67%) and work-life balance (also 67%) retain them.
• Solving problems by creating solutions makes architects proud to work in their profession (74%), followed by crea ting something tangible and ever-lasting (64%).

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For more, including recommendations for employers and architectural professionals, see Hays’s report
‘The role of an architect today & tomorrow’, available today at

Hays is the most followed recruitment agency on LinkedIn in the world. Join Hays’ growing network by following Hays Worldwide. You can also get expert advice, insights and the latest recruitment news by following Hays on Twitter @HaysNewZealand.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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