Architecture yields highest unemployment rate

Janice+Biancavilla%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ARobert+Miller%2C+director+of+the+School+of+Architecture%2C+stands+in+his+office+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+13%2C+2012.+

Janice Biancavilla

Janice Biancavilla/ Daily Wildcat Robert Miller, director of the School of Architecture, stands in his office on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012.

Yara Askar

Students who received bachelor degrees in architecture experienced the highest unemployment rate upon graduating, according to a study released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

According to the study, students who had undergraduate degrees in architecture showed the highest rate of unemployment (13.9 percent). Architecture graduates have topped the list for the past four years.

Since 2008, the profession of construction and design has been deteriorating, and people throughout the industry have been losing their jobs. When the recovery comes it will not be as robust as people may have seen in the past, according to Robert Miller, director of the School of Architecture. Once the economy gets better, companies are going to be conscious about who they hire back.

“They won’t be hiring their older employees for many reasons. First, they are going to be out of touch within the field of work for a long time,” Miller said. “Second, they are going to be older, and third, it is going to be more expensive to get those people back.”

Miller added that World War II brought a tremendous career opportunity for young architects and that they are now “the key to solving the global climate change problem (by) being more environmentally conscious during the construction process.” These opportunities will be the most incredible for students since World War II, according to Miller.

“This will bring a huge demand for young architects, and students with developed skills and great attitudes,” he said.

Architecture employers will also want to hire students with experience in the field, Miller said.

“Architecture teaches you other things, you don’t have to only focus on construction building, but maybe go into the field of design,” said Shane Parker, a third-year architecture graduate student. “I am going wherever the job takes me.”

Parker was one of many architecture students who decided to continue on with graduate school, and said he hopes that by the time he graduates, the economy will have improved.

Miller’s advice to current UA seniors who are about to graduate from the five-year architecture program is to finish their education to demonstrate how good they are. Architecture seniors are about to begin their final project for their portfolios, which is their capstone, and this is the most important and comprehensive project, Miller said. The portfolios will also show their most recent and important work for employers to look at.

“For those students, they must do everything they can to have the most fabulous and complete portfolios, knock-your-socks-off, comprehensive capstone project,” Miller said.

As for the current and incoming freshmen, they have at least five years of education ahead of them before going out into the job market, Miller said. The demand for design and construction has not gone away — and it will continue to build until the people who have launched certain projects have confidence in the economy again to continue the construction of these projects, he added.

“I do architecture because I want to help people by giving them a good place to live,” said Justin Wolfe, a third-year undergraduate student in the architecture program. “You do architecture because you love architecture, you do not do it for the money.”