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400 architects out in the cold?

December 5 2008

400 architects out in the cold?
The plight of architects in the present jobs market is perhaps best embodied by Adrian Welch who finds himself redundant for the second time in as many months. 

Having fled Michael Laird as the downturn hit at home he has been overtaken by events in the Middle East where the first shockwaves have only just hit, severing a promised RMJM job.

This continuing drip, drip of job losses and closures across the architectural profession has stoked fears of a wider collapse of architect numbers in Scotland.  The profession has always been regarded as the canaries on the coal face and as architects fall from their perches one by one journalist Peter Wilson fears the worst:

“I think the key thing here is that most practices in Scotland are quite small so even 1 person from a 4 or 5 man band is a 20-25% staff reduction. When it comes to the practices that have (or had) around 20 people, 4 or 5 redundancies also amounts to around 20-25%. Edinburgh and Glasgow are probably going to take the brunt of things in Scotland as they have the most architects (by my reckoning, around 1200 or so in each city) and because they have the practices with the bigger names.

”Given there are around 4000 registered architects in Scotland I think we will see – from the experience of previous recessions - quite a few retiring a bit earlier than they’d intended and this skews the redundancy figures a bit. Nevertheless, I’d be quite confident in predicting at least a 10% downturn in Scotland, so possibly upwards of 400 architects out in the cold and no London or Dubai opportunities to escape to.”

In recent months Bennetts, CDA and Richard Murphy have all been subject to job losses and join a growing list of practice casualties which include MAKE shedding 30 staff, Michael Laird dropping 5, Malcolm Fraser down 8 and RMJM (Middle East) minus 20.

Now is the time to get hiding behind that couch... if it’s not already been repossessed.

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