Senior Advisor at TEK Jussi Nousiainen, who is also responsible for the contract branch of the architectural design sector at YTN, says that many architectural firms are currently undergoing cooperation negotiations.
“There are two main reasons for this: fusions between firms and the poor project and job situation. Especially architectural firms specializing in housing construction are now suffering from the slump in the construction industry. Renovation-related architectural design, on the other hand, still provides jobs fairly well.”
The negative economic trend in construction is reflected in the employment rates of architects. At the end of July, 231 architects or landscape architects were unemployed, which is about 6.4 per cent of the corresponding workforce. Over the past year, the number of unemployed architects has grown by a staggering 93 per cent.
According to Nousiainen, there are now more unemployed architects than there were during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. This growth has been especially rapid since November 2022.
“In terms of lay-offs, we have not reached the COVID levels of 2020 yet, but we can still see a clear increase in the number of lay-offs.”
This is also confirmed by Tapani Laurikainen, work life expert at TEK who is also responsible for the contract branch of the construction industry at YTN. According to Laurikainen, the situation has deteriorated especially in housing construction. In July, there were 183 unemployed academic engineers in civil engineering, which is 40 per cent more than a year ago.
“Many companies that used to be financially sound have even gone bankrupt. One of the reasons for this is the extremely rapid deceleration of the housing market and the fact that newly built, unsold housing creates a burden on the balance sheets.”
Laurikainen mentions that the construction industry has also had more lay-offs than usual among professional or managerial employees. But he believes that, based on current economic trends, it looks like the construction market could pick up next year.
“But it will probably take a year or two before the industry returns to what is was before,” says Laurikainen.