Those seeking design and architecture graduate employment in Australia can find opportunities inside architectural studios; design studios; in-house design departments; local, state and Commonwealth government departments; as well as design roles in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Given the highly competitive nature of these industries, graduates need to prepare a solid portfolio of work commensurate with current standards and industry practice in order to be well-positioned. It is also essential that graduates make the most of networking and internship opportunities during university or college, as in the private sector, graduates are often hired by employers who have already had the chance to become acquainted with, and evaluate a prospective graduate’s skills during an internship rather than from publicly advertising.
For Architecture graduates, a 3-year bachelors degree and a 2-year masters degree are required to register as an architect in Australia and practice architecture as a profession. However, some positions do exist for architectural draftspeople, qualified at the diploma or bachelors degree level (who prepare plans, documentation and renderings under the supervision of a qualified architect).
Despite the requirement for postgraduate qualifications, architects typically receive a salary lower than the average starting salary for all Australian graduates, with first-year earnings reportedly averaging $46,000 for those with Masters degrees (http://architectureau.com/articles/Report-on-architects-flawed/). Job prospects are also affected by fluctuations in new construction activity, with architecture being a profession strongly tied to phases of strong economic growth.
Design graduates can make do with a bachelor’s degree, or diploma, with many jobs being strongly tied to the creativity and practical skills of candidates to complete tasks to a design brief. Therefore graduates ought to distinguish themselves in the studio element of their courses to position themselves well for employment.
Starting salaries for design graduates vary based upon specialisation, yet overall designers are typically offered starting salaries considerably lower than the average for all graduates at just $40,000 (http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/australian-designers-earn-less-than-national-a-6).