When the credit crisis hit in September 2008, every industry was affected. But in no sector was the impact as swift and complete as it was in the architectural industry. Seemingly over night, every development project was put on hold, and every day you’d hear about another round of massive layoffs.
Flash forward to 2013. Although the economic recovery has been going on—to some degree—for several years now, the architectural industry has just recently started to get its confidence back. Firms are bidding on new projects again, and the winning firms are finding themselves back in the market for quality personnel.
Today, architectural firms are realizing that staffing these positions with contractors provides the ideal solution for meeting the new labor demand. Staffing provides the best of both worlds because it combines flexibility along with access to a supply of architectural talent that is currently as deep as it has ever been.
When it comes to hiring, architectural firms are understandably leery of brining on permanent, full-time employees. Firms know that the next economic downturn could be just around the corner, and they are trying to get away from a hire-and-fire cycle that once defined the industry. Staffing with contractors gives firms the ability to ramp up as the bids are won and the flexibility to downsize between projects.
In addition to this much-needed flexibility, firms also benefit from getting to select from an incredibly deep talent pool for architectural talent. The extensive layoffs over the past five years have resulted in many highly skilled, experienced professionals who are looking for work as contractors.
We won’t remain in this “sweet spot” for staffing talent forever, though. As the architectural industry continues to gain momentum, firms will eventually begin snatching up the best people. Firms should keep this in mind as they evaluate the contractors they have brought on and decide whether they want to keep that person on-board for an extended time.