The Big Question May 2017

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Do Millennial architects / designers have a fundamentally different set of challenges than the previous generation?

Katrina Kostic Samen, KKS

Yes, but we all  live in a fast-changing, uncertain world and that is not going to change. Technology is developing and adapting at an exponential rate – we are in a tidal wave of progress and technology has finally unshackled the workplace.  Businesses are in a constant state of flux, adapting to meet changing industry demands, increased globalisation and forceful competition. Designers today have to deliver transformational solutions, exploit technological advances and support fundamental human needs. Quite a change from the 80’s!

RossRoss Glithro, IOR Group
I believe the speed in which technology advances still surprises everyone, of any generation. For Millennial designers, growing up with such familiarity of technology, combined with unlimited information resources at their fingertips, would seem highly beneficial. It is important to remember that this information is also readily available to clients, hence why I feel one new challenge designers face is that of increased client knowledge and expectation.


Andrea Williams-Wedberg, Williams Wedberg
Millennial designers, who are facing a new breed of employee, have to prioritise understanding the ever-changing demands of the global employee. The workplace environment has become a lifestyle choice, it’s no surprise it’s playing a huge part in employees choosing their jobs. The teams are global, the demographic range is vast, best in class has been replaced with world class so, as a Millennial designer, trying to standout in a crowded market with a unique USP, it’s no longer enough.

Lesley-McPheeLesley McPhee, The Hut Group
I think the main challenge is bridging the gap between the baby boomers and Millennials within the design arena. As designers, we need to create a hybrid – we have a rare opportunity to drive and influence change. Younger designers are fluent in technology, naturally sharing and collaborative, they place a greater value on experiences so design becomes more emotive as opposed to opulent and flashy.

Gary ShellGary Sheldrake, Hays
Many employers expect design graduates to already possess a high level of software knowledge, presentation skills, in addition to a portfolio of work. They are expected to have a higher understanding of technology within the industry compared to generations above, however this can only improve career prospects for Millennials. According to our UK Salary & Recruiting Trends Guide 2017, nearly a quarter of all employers said IT and digital skills are most needed by their organisations this year.


Chiara Cantilena, LOM architecture and design
While some of the more cerebral design processes we follow will not fundamentally change, the way we communicate and produce work will be challenged. In a society where people can get instant answers, the technologies supporting the way we work will have to become streamlined to allow for more effective exchanges and faster outputs. Virtual reality, software and hardware development will radically change the way architecture and design are taught at universities and practiced.