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Are Interior Designers in Demand?

Interior Designer US Employment Outlook for 2022

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Quick Answer:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there were 87,000 interior design jobs in 2020. With on average 7,800 job openings per year, the design job market is projected to stay stable through 2030.

Are Interior Designers in Demand?

Each year there will be numerous job openings as people retire or leave this occupation. As the aging population increases and with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased demand for interior designers in the healthcare industry because of the need for more facilities. There has also been an increased demand for designers in the hospitality industry as tourism begins to pick back up. In the commercial space, ​​there has been an expected increase in demand for interior designers as companies try to adjust to the impact COVID-19 had on the workplace. 

How is Demand for Interior Designers Calculated?

When asking “Are interior designers in high demand?”, it can be helpful to understand how demand is calculated. The BLS uses data from two surveys to estimate the expected growth of a certain occupation. The first survey is the Current Employment Statistics (CES), and it provides information on employment, hours worked, and earnings. The second survey is the Current Population Surveys (CPS), which gathers information on employment, unemployment, and the labor force. By using these surveys the BLS can then make an estimate of how much growth a certain occupation is expected to see over the next few years. 

Industries That Have a High Demand for Interior Designers

Are interior designers in demand more so in some industries than in others? With an overall projected increase of 5% for the interior design job market there have been a few industries who have seen a spike in their need to employ interior designers: 

Hospitality

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic people were not allowed to travel as much so when restrictions were loosened people were more than excited to get back to their vacation time. According to the World Tourism Organization, global international tourism increased by 130% in January 2022 when compared to 2021. This means hotels, resorts, and even restaurants have experienced an increased need for interior designers to update their facilities and make it appealing to the increased number of tourists. 

Commercial

  • After COVID-19 it is now becoming the norm for companies to give their employees a hybrid return to office plan. Companies are now allowing employees to continue to work from home but also require them to come into the office a few days a week. According to the 2021 Microsoft Work Trend Index: Annual Report, 66% of businesses were considering redesigning their offices to better accommodate hybrid work environments.  

Healthcare  

  • Due to the aging population and COVID-19 there has also been an increased need for healthcare facilities. As people get older more senior care facilities needing to be built. 

Residential 

  • According to a Bank of America poll of 1,054 Americans about their attitudes and shopping habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, they found that 70% have decided to tackle home improvement projects. People were spending most of their time at home so the desire to improve the space around them was inevitable.

Conditions That Can Impact Demand for Interior Designers

Like any industry there are always external factors that can impact interior designer employment outlook: 

Economic Slowdown 

  • According to the Bureau for Economic Analysis (BEA), from 2021 to 2022 there has been an increase of $93.8 billion in spending for services. This has inevitably created supply and demand shortages which may test the economy’s limits because it is a cause of inflation. This creates a sort of trickle down effect because as prices for materials and furniture rise interior designers will have to raise their rate as well. This can affect the amount of business they get and how much their clients are willing to spend on interior design services.  

Labor Force Changes 

  • Thousands of people retire each year from the interior design occupation. According to Pew Research, the number of people retiring from the overall job force has increased by 1.1 million since February 2020. This could be due to COVID-19 which also caused 46% of people who responded to the 2021 Microsoft Work Trend Index: Annual Report to say they either switched jobs during the pandemic or plan to look for a new job once the threat decreases.  

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Designers 

  • According to Angi, 81% of homeowners took on a DIY home improvement project. Some of this was due to the increased amount of free time at home during the pandemic, and as mentioned before as people spent more time at home they wanted to improve their living space. 

What are Real Interior Designers Saying About Job Outlook in 2022?

We interviewed a few of the interior designers and this is what they had to say about job outlook for 2022: 

"There is so much potential to be had and I think there will be for years to come. I mean we saw during COVID how important the home is. People really realized that the only thing they can control is their home so I think there’s a lot of potential for people in this industry," says Kirby Foster Hurd of Kirby Home Designs.

Whereas, Laila Johnson of Designed SmART says, "...With so many interior designers out there, interior designers will have to show a differential. It has to be something beyond 'I can put beautiful finishes together'. I think the market is getting more and more competitive." 

Conclusion

So, are interior designers in demand? With a steady increase in job openings and innovation happening in the interior design field there is an undeniable demand for interior designers. Of course there are ever changing factors that can change the demand for interior designers but there are also steps you can take during your career to help secure employment. 

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