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Does this recession mean I might not be able to get a job when I graduate?

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I am currently an architecture student with a planned graduation in 2022, what does the #covid19 recession mean for the job market in regards to architecture? I was intending to practice for a few years before going to grad school, but does this mean I should start considering/planning to go to grad school directly after undergrad?
#architect #architecture #job #graduate-school

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Jordan A.’s Answer

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In addition to all the previous professional mentioned, I would say luckily architecture is one of the fields where much of the work can be completed remotely. I would suggest reaching out to firms in your area to see if they would be interested in letting you get some remote intern experience. Practical experience will help set you apart in a tight competitive market and can set you on a more speedy path to licensure (AXP and ARE).

*Also I can relate completely to recession woes. I went straight from undergrad to grad because of the job market in May '12.

Best of Luck!
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Kim’s Answer

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Emily,

I think it is really too early to tell how the economy will respond once we get beyond the current situation. I have found in life it is best to hope for the best but plan for the worst (but not to obsess about it!) Being young, you probably don't realize how many situations could de-rail your plans, such as your own personal health, family health, parental divorce (if applicable), etc. As you go through life, you will learn to adapt to these unforeseen circumstances. I encourage you to try to manage the stress as best as possible through diet, exercise, and sleep.

While things may look a bit shaky now, you are two years from graduating. I would recommend continuing with your planned approach, which, by the way, I highly approve of! I think having real world work experience in your chosen field will allow you to benefit much more from the grad school experience.

I know these are very stressful times, but please try to be optimistic. Our country has come through some difficult times before (such as 9/11) and will continue to do so!
Thanks Kim! Emily C. Translate
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Luke’s Answer

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I went to college for architecture during the great recession so I understand the concern.

First, we should look at the economic scenario. Unlike the Great Recession, this shock to the economy will result in a much shorter but steeper recession, possibly so sort it isn't even technically a recession. (I saw forecasts today for -12% GDP Q2 but 6% Q3 which means no recession!) So if I were graduating in 2022 I would not be worried. Even 2021 I wouldn't be too worried. Specifically for architecture, I am seeing almost no slowdown. Construction is still going on largely undelayed, owners and developers are not hesitating on future projects or projects in design. The Great Recession was a financial crisis and these are the people who fund projects, thus the blow to architecture. This contraction is an exogenous shock. The Fed is not hesitating to ensure the stability of the financial system. There is some danger of a prolonged contraction of the economy that could drag down all sectors, but it appears architecture won't be as affected by that. In housing, the high cost of land, labor, materials and the massive growth in regulation costs have made it extremely expensive to build housing. It surprises many people but we are actually building half the amount of housing we need to be! There is massive undersupply. This bodes well for housing architects going forward. With Retail and Office space we could see a permanent reduction in demand as a whole, but we've actually been seeing that for a long time. Both sectors, however, have had a major demand and lack of supply for high-quality retail and office spaces. People don't want 1980s cube farm offices and basic retail. They want trendy spaces. That has continually and will continually drive demand for architectural services.

So let's say I'm wrong or someone else reading this graduates in 2020.
1. One of the best moves, regardless of the future, will be to minimize your debt coming out of school. If class isn't in session this is a great time to get a temp job and you can easily make literally twice what I made in '09 as a summer groundskeeper. I'm jealous!
Minimizing you're debt coming out of school maximizes your options. Avoiding income-based repayment plans, deferment and other relief programs are the key as those are what trap people in debt. I paid mine off in 4 years, making averaging $1100/mo the final year, well above minimum payments. I have several friends that did the same. Don't let people demoralize you or tell you it can't be done. Dave Ramsey is a great source regarding staying out of debt and getting out of debt. I found him very motivational.
On a related note, further studying economics and the stock market will give you calm and confidence in times like this when most people are panicking. But don't get fancy, that's how people get burned. And selling at times like this. The worst decision of many peoples lives was panicking with their retirement in '08-'09
2. Assuming you're thinking about grad school because you want to be a licensed architect, familiarize yourself with the education requires of states you're considering living in. Here in CO you don't need a B.Arch or M.Arch to get licensed. If you're in a program where you have an option still between B.Arch and M.Arch definitely choose B.Arch. Pretty much everyone sees them as interchangeable and the cost of the M.Arch in 6years vs B.Arch in 5 is $100,000, mostly in one year fewer wages.
3. Looking into grad school to prepare can't hurt.
4. Since you have 2 years I'd do anything I can to bolster my resume and interview talking points. The best thing I can think of would be to grab an ARE study guide or subscribe to Black Spectacles (videos are way better than reading in my opinion) and learn those things they don't teach you in school so it's like you'll be coming in with 1-2 years exp instead of 0-1.
For me the biggest thing was getting that 0-1 yr experience, then getting through that 1-3 years experience. Once you get to the other side of 3 years exp you'll be well in demand.
5. Worst comes to worst, construction experience is great to have on a resume. My first job out of college was as an assistant superintendent and it was great to talk about in job interviews. My aunt said her best experience was a summer internship in graphic design. You don't have to have architecture experience, in fact it sets you apart if you have exp in related fields.

Luke recommends the following next steps:

  • personal financial management
  • build experience, preferably in architecture or related fields.
  • research alternate paths to licensure and cost of grad school including
Thank you so much for this answer Luke, this was really helpful/reassuring to read/ Emily C. Translate
excellent, thanks for the feedback! Luke Durkin, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc. Translate
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Luke’s Answer

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One thing I keep thinking about to add is to prepare for Universities to raise tuition and make cuts.
The cuts are probably the main thing to prepare for. When I was in college during the great recession, one of the biggest impacts was the cutting of classes. It was very hard to get a minor because you couldn't get a seat in many of those classes. Lots of the non-essential classes or classes that filled professional electives got cut. So you need to plan ahead to make sure you can get into some of these classes to complete your degree on time and complete your minor. Architecture major classes are typically guaranteed so that shouldn't be a problem. If a certain GE category is harder to get and you know you have a late priority for registration coming up to need to plan ahead more than before.

On tuition hikes, I know the politicians like to talk a big game, but their track record, especially California where I see you are, is massive defunding of higher education and massive tuition hikes. Now I don't think that it'll happen for the next academic year, but 2021-22 there is a very good chance. If you're on student loans or your family pays it may not be concerning but some other people reading this may want to think about the financial planning.
That states are going to see a very large drop in tax revenue. They are going to need to make up for that. I don't recall the time range but I know the CA state govt used to pay 70% of my school's budget. That fell to 30%. Now Universities had two main ways they made up for this during the great recession. Increasing endowment (donations) and increasing tuition. As I recall the UC system raised tuition something like $10,000. I don't know if that's right, I assume that's per year, maybe it's over 4yr for out-of-state or something used to dramatize the statistic. My interpretation is the UC's (Univ of Cal System) are treated like a premium or luxury thus they bore a larger portion of the tuition hike than the CSU (Cal State Univ System) system which is viewed more as an affordable option accessible to everyone.
This, of course, led to student protests at some universities which of course disrupts classes, disrupts you from working on your senior project... At UC Santa Cruz they had to shut down the campus for several days. That's easy there because of limited access and remoteness but if that happens and you left stuff in studio, on-campus...
Thanks for the follow-up Luke. Emily C. Translate
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Lisa’s Answer

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It does NOT mean that you won’t be able to find a job. It DOES mean that you will need to adjust your job search to match the current environment. But GOOD NEWS, you are at an advantage. As a student, you have the ability to build relationships with people in the field you are pursuing and getting your foot in the door! Check out next steps for a video on how to do this:

Lisa recommends the following next steps:

  • YouTube, Self Made Millenial “Coronavirus Job Search: Change Careers & Students Graduate with a Job -Get a Job With No Experience”
  • YouTube, Self Made Millenial “Coronavirus Job Search: What Jobs Are Hiring & How to Get a Job During Covid-19 Outbreak”
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Kevin’s Answer

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I'm sure it's an uncertain time for anyone in school (heck, even for people out of school!). You are in a good position to be two years away from graduation, so things could change wildly before then. I was fortunate to ride out most of the 2008 recession in grad school myself and was able to piece together enough jobs and internships to make it through - though I did have to move across the country twice in a 4 month window to make it work! So keep your head up. If I were you, I'd stay the course and try to get real world experience before grad school, but be flexible as things shift. Good luck!
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Sourav’s Answer

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One word answer NO. Recession is one of the jargon which is thrown around by media and politicians a lot, so dont get scared. Recession is not going to dictate what you are going to do after graduation. Recession can be a small hurdle but wont stop you if you are able to adapt to the current situation. Being a fresher sky is the limit for you. Try to engage in networking this really helps in job search. Learn and do your best at present rather than thinking about future.

All the best!!!
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