Architects ‘squeezed out of middle class’
Architects, academics and scientists can no longer afford the comforts of middle class life because their earnings have been eclipsed by a new ‘uber middle class’ – research has claimed
Career paths considered well paid in the 1970s such as architecture have failed to keep pace with pay increases for doctors, bankers and lawyers – according to research published in The Financial Times.
Analysis of salaries over the past 40 years indicated the arrival of a new ‘uber middle class’ which has fuelled fiercer competition for private school places and higher property prices in the capital.
The study found architects and town planners earned 1.58 times the national average in the mid-1970s but this has slipped to 1.32 today.
By comparison lawyers’ relative income increased from 1.39 to 1.74 times the national average and City workers’ earnings shot up from 1.32 to 3.07 times the national average.
Representing the top five per cent of earners, the so-called ‘uber-middle class’ are likely to live in a five bedroom house.
Architects in contrast can no longer expect to find themselves in the top 10 per cent of salaried workers and are said to be among a growing raft of professions seeking to ‘cling-on’ to middle class privileges.
Commenting on the findings a RIBA spokesperson said: ‘Architects earnings have increased in real terms over recent decades, especially during the 2000s, but during the recession their inflation-adjusted earnings have fallen back to around 1988 levels.
During the recession architect’s earnings have fallen back to 1988 levels
‘Contemporary UK architects are therefore better off in real terms than their counterparts in the early 1960s, but have seen a decrease in relative terms to national average earnings.’
The spokesperson continued: ‘Architects earnings are inevitably closely related to the fees charged. In the 1960s, a far higher proportion of architects were employed in the public sector, the overall profession was much smaller and fixed fee scales were commonplace, therefore increased competition in the profession may have a big part to play in the trends we see today.
‘RIBA encourages sustainable fees that reflect the value good design brings and the unique expertise and skill only architects can offer.’