7 Ways to Attract Talent

Illustration: Michael Kirkham

What a difference eight years can make.

In 2008, the real estate bubble burst, the economy plunged into the Great Recession, and the architecture profession went into a deep spiral, with many observers wondering if it would ever recover. Architects nationwide were thrown out of work, credit evaporated, and projects were canceled en masse. Many young and promising but disenchanted professionals left the profession altogether.

Fast-forward eight years—an admittedly “slow” fast-forward for many—and a firm’s well-being is as much about economic capital as it is about human capital. Thanks in part to the record-low interest rates that have financed huge construction projects, human capital—as well as raw and seasoned talent—is in high demand. Fees are skyrocketing, firms are expanding, and it’s once again a seller’s market for practitioners.

All of which makes a just-released survey of professionals by the AIA California Council, “Attracting and Retaining Talent,” all the more relevant. Just as the profession itself has recovered, so has the ability for architects to choose not only where they work, but how much.

So it’s no surprise that the survey of some 500 professionals found that today, more than ever before, a firm’s future success depends on its ability to recruit—and retain—exceptional design professionals in architecture and closely related fields.