We are living through very challenging times, economically, socially and emotionally. The architectural and design industry has always been very susceptible to disruptions in the economy and whilst we all deal with the current pandemic, frustratingly the industry is feeling an impact once again. This has resulted in many employees being furloughed, asked to work reduced hours or regrettably seeing their contract terminated leaving people with both uncertainty and time on their hands.
It’s very difficult to predict what will happen next and how long it will take to return to something that resembles normality. It’s true to say that many of us have had to adapt to a new way of working. Many people are working from home and conducting meetings via digital means. It will be interesting to see how much of this continues after restrictions are lifted. Having spoken to many people over the last few weeks, I would suggest that whilst most are looking forward to getting back into their studios and offices as well as reconnecting on a human level, there are certain aspects of home working people will be reluctant to give up. People have got back the time spent commuting, spending more quality time with their family and aren’t having to endure the packed tubes or trains. In an attempt to maintain the social interaction, a number of my clients are still doing Friday afternoon drinks but via Teams or Zoom. Maybe not so great for that one person in the office who never buys a round (you know who you are). I do however feel that some employers have been reluctantly dragged into the remote working territory only to be pleasantly surprised with the outcome and have maintained productivity. Will we need such large offices in the future and will we get a seat on the train when we go back if some of what we have learnt is maintained and embraced?
Sadly for some, returning back to the norm won’t be an option. Certain sectors will be hit harder than others. The hospitality and aviation sectors are two good examples of this and architectural and design practices in these markets are likely to experience a slower recovery. Staff may be furloughed for longer periods or could even be facing redundancy. If you are at home currently and not working, the additional time you have on your hands can end up giving you more time to worry. Once you have got on top of all your life admin you’ve been putting off and rearranged your spice rack into alphabetical order, there is something else well worth doing which will help mitigate against employment uncertainty. In the architectural and design sector, it’s almost a prerequisite that potential employers will want to see not only a CV but also a digital portfolio before committing to an interview. How up to date is yours? Now is a great time to polish that old CV or start again from scratch. In this industry, the best CVs aren’t a Microsoft Word document written in 12pt, Times New Roman. A great CV incorporates images of projects and examples of drawings. They are an opportunity to not only relay your skills and experience but they can also showcase your design ability. Images of projects help an employer identify synergies with their work without hunting through lines of text. Noting your employer’s policy of the use of such information, now is a good time to access images and drawings from your work computer and really take the time to pull something together that truly represents your talents. It’s worth being conscious of file size however and as a rule of thumb I would limit any document to 10MB.
Now is also a great time to engage with recruiters. Have a think, which recruiter has consistently approached you with high quality and well targeted jobs in the past? Now is a quiet time for many recruiters and they will be only too happy to talk to you and discuss potential career opportunities. A lot of jobs went on hold as the restrictions were introduced and I anticipate many of these will come back again but will require fresh candidates in a lot of cases. I’d like to think we will see a quick bounce back in most sectors. Afterall this is very different to 2008 and the economy has been more “paused” rather than having to recover from a financial collapse. Following the December 2019 general election, the market was booming and there were some great jobs out there with fantastic practices. These will be back but will go quickly if there is an abundance of high-quality candidates on the market. Positioning yourself to react quickly is imperative and that starts with your CV and portfolio.
I have 19 years’ experience within the recruitment market and the last 16 of these have been in the architectural and design sector. I’m more than happy to speak to anyone who is looking for some help and advice. Maybe you want some pointers on your CV or portfolio? Perhaps you would like to discuss the market? Have you been meaning to talk to a recruiter in your sector for some time now but just not got around to it? I’m not saying now is easy for anyone, but there are positive actions you can take. These are:
I look forward to hearing from you and of course all conversations will be confidential. In the meantime, keep well, stay safe and for the avoidance of doubt, smoked paprika goes next to normal paprika and not your saffron.
020 7993 6980