« Stephanie Houston’s saga is all too common these days.
Armed with a master’s degree in architecture and six years of professional experience, Houston currently is hunting for work in San Francisco after getting laid off from a U.K.-based firm in October. She is taking all of the necessary steps: finessing her resume and portfolio, scouring the Web for job openings, networking at full-throttle. She even printed her own business cards. Ever determined, Houston has contacted 30 firms in the Bay Area; so far, only one has invited her in for an exploratory interview, in case it might be hiring in the future. “I’m trying to make the most of it,” she says, “but it’s frustrating at times.” Indeed, times are bleak. The national unemployment rate is steadily climbing; in January, it hit 7.6 percent, with the architecture and engineering industry sector shedding some 9,600 jobs. As credit remains frozen, and work dries up in the U.S. and abroad, firms large and small are cutting staff.
Nobody is immune from getting laid off in this depressed economy, experts say. For those who have lost their job—or fear losing it—the near future does not look promising. There are strategies, however, that architects can employ to ensure their longevity in the profession. »