Interstate Architects Limited CEO Olusegun Ladega said that about 30 percent of architects migrated to Canada in 2022.
In an interview with the punchLadega revealed that those who go abroad are highly experienced professionals.
He said: “I can count the number of our staff that would be with us, who we have developed because we also have our own internal human capital development processes. So it means we had developed some of our people only to have them say, ‘I’m leaving.’ In fact, Canada is now the number one destination. More than 30 percent of our workforce in the last year called me to say, ‘I’m going to Canada.’ It is a majority that goes to Canada. Some have gone to the UK.
“So this means that we have invested resources, training and developing them. Most of the time, when architects come as a practice, we encourage them and then employ those who have the potential to grow into the practice and perhaps eventually become partners. So that’s part of our recruiting strategy.”
He added: “We are always vigilant in employing those who will replace us. And then, when you’ve already invested in the development of the person, they just say again, ‘thank you very much, sir, but my visa for Canada no longer exists.’ So, you’ve just developed them for Canada.
“So this means that we invest resources, training and developing them. I mean, most of the time, when architects come in as a practice, we encourage them and then we hire those that we see that have the potential to grow with the practice and maybe eventually become partners. So that’s part of our recruiting strategy.”
Ladega was also concerned about the number of architects who had left the profession for others.
Architectural firms are currently experiencing labor shortages as architects are leaving the industry for other sectors.
While he denounced the state of the industry, he noted that the brain drain problem was not limited to those migrating to other countries, but also those moving to other sectors after being outfitted by architectural firms.
He claimed that the movement of architects into other sectors, especially the financial sector, had been depriving the architectural industry of private consulting opportunities.
He said: “Where architects are attracted by high salaries, they leave regardless of the investments made. We call it ‘house architects’. The resulting effect is that banks that develop their branch networks across the country no longer turn to private consulting because they use their own architects.
“So, they don’t just choose a young man from the street. It’s the guys from well-established companies and some of us from well-established companies that they just recruit from. Throughout the country, I can count the number of alumni of this organization.”
For her part, the executive director of CN Architects Limited, Obinna Nwosu, assured that the movement of professionals from one industry to another is part of life.
He said: “It’s a cycle of life. At any given moment, it all comes down to what we are passionate about and the responsibilities that lie ahead. The first time this happened to me, I felt bad. However, I realized that people had to grow and not everyone would grow with you, regardless of the equipment that was made over time.
“Another problem with architectural firms is that they don’t pay well, so architects are forced to become designers, builders or developers. “
Along the same lines, another architect, Daniel Thompson, noted that migration occurs frequently in the architectural industry.
He said: “Speaking from a business perspective, it’s a very logical move. However, this could dilute industry standards as in-house architects are not supervised, lack seniors to guide them properly and this might not lead to growth on their end.”