The 2023 LA Barometer: Industry, People, Environment
IFLA-APR surveyed 100+ CEO’s of landscape architect firms in the Asia Pacific and asked them about the current challenges. The result concludes clearly certain findings on the industry challenges in terms of opportunity, people and environment. Most of the respondents have 10 or more years in the industry. The respondents were pretty balanced across the region that IFLA-APR serves. We thank and recognize those who took their time to participate and hope that the results will be helpful to benchmark against the industry.
THE COVID-19 impact in APAC
It appears that 65% of the industry surveyed has an extensive to severe impact on business during the years 2020 and 2021. 40% of them indicated that they are still in the recovery stage of the pandemic. The expectation is that the impact will last at least 3 more years.
Business is growing in APAC
35% of the industry foresees good growth in the coming 3 years, despite the pandemic and economic challenges. It is difficult to derive if this is benchmarked against 2020 and 2021 business, but the outlook appears positive. Not to mention that another 20% considers the 3-year outlook as neutral, allowing us to conclude that growth is expected to continue over the coming years. What drives this view appears to be “demand”, as well as “government spending” with “climate change” as a strong 3rd. Clearly we can do more in-depth surveying on the drivers in the future.
What worries the average CEO?
However, the industry certainly has it’s concern. Aside from the economic uncertainties and the rise of interest rates, there are concern about “Government Spending” that might drive down demand in the immediate future. This can be fueled by the cost of the Pandemic to governments globally. Interesting, “people” was highlighted as a threat due to the changing labor markets post covid. Also “Climate change” was seen as something that can negatively impact the business outlook.
Employment in the industry
Half of the industry is concerned about talent supply whilst the other half seem to be comfortable with their team needs. The industry is overall positive with the upcoming talent pool of new graduates, which recognizes the expansion of schools across the region and the increased interest in the profession. As a sub-note we have to mention that the term “undervalued” was repeated regularly which confirms that the industry as a whole should continue to strengthen its recognition and value in the design and urban planning sectors. The industry is mostly back to the office in 2023, or works in a hybrid fashion, with just over 10% still working remotely.
The SUSTAINABILITY inequality
Even though the majority of LA’s consider that Sustainability and Climate Change is on top of their agenda, it appears not to carry that same weight with our clients. Only around 30% of the clients appear to consider Climate Change as part of the project mandate. It again re-affirms that we need to continue to echo our positive impact in project planning and execution on more than just communities.
The next game changer for Landscape Architects
The industry clearly sees that computing power and new technologies will bring impactful changes in the near future. This is seen through the development of AI and 3d modelling tools and resources to index plants and characteristics. In short, there is enough here to hold a few conferences of idea sharing and want lists.