Is the Town Planning Job Market Bouncing Back?


Just a couple of months ago I was happy to report that after an initial slump towards the start of the year, the town planning market looked to be resurgent. Now, I can confirm its return to being a buoyant market…nearly!

The stability effect

So what’s changed? I’m (not) going out on a limb here and stating the obvious but I’m hearing one of two words dominate all my industry discussions: stability, and instability. It was undoubtedly a lack of stability that led to a significantly more cautious approach from developers and housebuilders, resulting in a major slowdown of growth in the planning industry throughout the first half of the year. This wasn’t noticeably apparent in the number of job applications or interviews scheduled, however, when you scratched beneath the surface it was clear that companies were surveying the market, often without the intention of hiring. As a result company growth slowed and the jobs market took a dip.

Over the past two months however, it has bounced back.

It was no coincidence that the industry slowed shortly before the initially planned Brexit date in February. Now with a guaranteed wait until later in the year, even for just a few months, many housebuilders and developers are realising there is money to be made by not resting on their laurels until the new date. I use the word stability with caution, but with developments going ahead again we’re seeing a bounce back of companies wanting to hire town planners, especially consultancies. As a result, the planning jobs market is nearly back to its buoyant self with an exciting number of consultancies expanding their teams again.

How long will this last?

Is the good question – and although no one can predict the future (especially with how the last two and half years have played out) I do have a forecast. Ultimately, town planning will have to remain strong as there is a need to build houses. However, I do see another slowdown as we reach the end of September and approach what appears to be a more definite Brexit date. Once more, I imagine all industries will hedge their bets, knowing personnel growth will be coming but putting it off down the line, but from the conversations I’m having I don’t think it’ll nearly be as drastic a slow down as we saw earlier on this year.

I also think the expectation of the coming Brexit date is partially driving the need to grow now. With projects in and requiring work, consultancies are needing to expand. The good news here is that there are a good number of stable planning jobs at the moment – if you’re considering a move between companies then now is the time to act!


While I wouldn’t go as far as describing the town planning jobs market as buoyant, it is definitely resurging, especially in the run up to Brexit. The profession is a resilient one, especially when compared to its built environment counterparts such as architecture; it will, long term, continue to grow while it plays a politically important role (both in actuality and politically) in building enough houses. There will always be opportunities within town planning, but I think the instability around Brexit late this year will impact all industries across the country significantly for a short period of time. So, if you’re weighing up a move within town planning, this window is the time to do it.

If you are keen on seeing more market updates, jobs available and companies hiring, get in touch to learn more: / 02079602583


Written by Freddie Bell

Head of Town Planning & Urban Design 

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Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

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