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Architects’ optimism reaches record high

Architects’ optimism has surged to its highest point since records began in January 2009, according to the RIBA

The institute’s monthly Future Trends Survey reported a four point rise in its workload index for September, with 38 per cent of the practices predicting their workload would increase. Only 12 per cent of those polled feared a drop in work.

The Workload Index – the total difference between those expecting more work in the next three months and those expecting less – was +26, increasing from +22 in August.  Actual workloads however remained stable.

The increasingly buoyant private housing sector gave architects most reason to be optimistic with the survey reporting a sector Workload Index of +25 in September up from +22 in August.

The commercial sector also saw a significant increase from +9 in August to +17 last month.  The public and community sectors both however remained static at +3 in September.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: ‘Overall workloads for architects fell back sharply in late 2008 and throughout 2009, and continued to decline, albeit much less dramatically, until the end of 2012, but have now been stable for some time.’

The survey’s Staffing Index meanwhile increased to +7 in September compared to +3 in August. Large practices remained the most confident about taking on more staff. Architects were also optimistic about the prospect of taking on more temporary staff.

Dobson added: ‘Increased optimism about staffing levels are reinforced by the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month; down to 20 per cent, the lowest figure since the RIBA Future Trends survey began in January 2009. 

‘Although there clearly remains over-capacity in the architects’ profession at present the situation appears to be gradually improving, suggesting that employment prospects for salaried architects may improve in 2014.’

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