Architecture Firms Hiring Again, Just Very Cautiously

While the AIA‘s Architecture Billings Index has remained either flat for months or, most recently, dipped back into the negative, that might not indicate that everything is still so rough and tumble inside the business of building. Architectural Record reports that firms are now slowly beginning to hire again, following now years of massive purges across the industry. The cite a number of firms, from the smaller shops, like Crawford Architects in Kansas City, who have recently hired two new employees, bringing them up to 15 in total (down from 23 at its peak), and the large, like mega-firm Gensler, who laid off nearly a quarter of their staff during the great financial crippling, but have now opened several new offices internationally and hired “several hundred employees” to fill the ranks. Still, even if the trend continues and firms gradually start hiring again in (hopefully) increased numbers, considering how many experienced architects were laid off during the period, and how few worried students were graduating with new degrees in architecture, the fight for employment is sure to be tough for at least the next few years. Here’s a bit more from AR‘s report:

Indeed, firms that are making job offers are still nervous about the future. Johnson Fain, of Los Angeles, saw its staff plummet from 108 to 40 in a year’s time; it’s now back up to 50 based on inquiries about mixed-use local developments, says principal Larry Ball. But developers are slow to fully commit to those projects, a trend that gives the recovery a scattershot vibe. “It’s all speculative,” Ball says. “I don’t see things going gangbusters yet.”