Pandemic dims growth picture for interior design sector

Industry’s employment gains since 2018 wiped out in COVID economy

Two years of employment gains in Metro Vancouver’s interior design industry have been wiped out undercut by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, average employment fell below 2018 levels and by 12.7% to 16.15 employees from 18.5 in 2020, according to data collected for Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Interior Design Firms in Metro Vancouver list (biv.com/lists).

The median employment of the companies on the list sank an even greater 18.8% to 13 employees in 2021 from 16 in 2020. This suggests that smaller companies lower on the list suffered greater employment declines than larger companies, higher on the list.

Over the past five years, the growth in median employment for the companies listed has lagged behind average growth. This suggests that smaller companies lower on the list had weaker employment growth before the pandemic to buffer against an even greater post-pandemic decline.

Three of the top five largest interior design firms experienced no employment loss in 2021: No. 1 SmartDesign Group, No. 2 Kasian and No. 4 CHIL Interior Design.

There was no employment change in 2021 compared with 2020 for 11 companies on the list.

 

Interior design top five employment

 

Only two companies posted employment growth in 2021.

No. 6 Bob’s Your Uncle Design Ltd. recorded the largest one-year employment growth: 12.5% to 18 employees in 2021 from 16 in 2020.

Metro Vancouver’s interior design industry had shown steady but slowing employment growth over the four years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Average employment grew 13.2% in 2018, 11.6% in 2019 and only 1.7% in 2020.

All of the companies in the top five posted some employment growth in the four years prior to 2021.

CHIL Interior Design had the largest four-year pre-pandemic growth, increasing 78.6% to 25 employees in 2020 from 14 in 2017. •