This Recession Is Different, and So Is Hiring

Published: August 13, 2020

By Lloyd Princeton, Design Management Company

Typically, recessions are triggered by some kind of economic calamity – such as the housing bubble burst in 2008 that sent shockwaves through the banking and financial services industry, driving the rest of the economy into a tailspin. The current situation is very different. For the most part, the economy was doing fine until it fell prey to a deadly virus that has gripped the entire globe, making it difficult – if not impossible – for most businesses to function normally.

As we’ve seen in recent weeks, when they have been able to operate, businesses have bounced back fairly quickly. That has created a dilemma for employers who cannot afford to pay workers when there is no work, but they want to hold onto the employees they have so they can ramp up as quickly as possible once conditions improve. In turn, that complicates things for those who have lost their jobs and are seeking employment.

Adding to the uncertainty and instability in the job market is that some sectors of the architecture and design industry have been harder hit than others. Demand for residential services has rebounded in many parts of the country, while closures and partial re-openings have stymied office, hospitality and retail projects. Thus, while some firms have reduced or furloughed staff, others are hiring but only to fill specific needs.

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What this means for design job seekers is that you have to do your research really well and be very focused in your search. This is not the time to try to move into a different area of design. Play to your strengths. Expect employers to be more demanding and wanting higher qualifications, especially proven experience. On the other hand, if you have an excellent track record in an area that is in demand, use that as leverage to get the best offer you can.

Generally in a recession, employers have the upper hand in the hiring process. But this is not a typical recession. In today’s ever-shifting business currents, meeting an employer’s specific needs and being productive from day one are assets you want to promote to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

Design Management Company (DMC) is a specialty placement agency that focuses on the architecture and design industry. DMC recruits and places top professionals for positions like interior designers, architects, interior design and architecture office staff, showroom staff and project managers.

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