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Exclusive: Ratio of women on rise in AJ100 firms

The proportion of women architects working for the country’s top 100 practices has increased to 26 per cent

It is the second year in a row the ratio of qualified female architects employed by practices in the AJ’s pantheon of top firms has risen, having edged up from 23 per cent in 2010 to 24 per cent in 2011.

There are now 2,284 women architects in the AJ100 and the ratio of men to women now matches the peak in 2009 when women architects also made up 26 per cent of the architect workforce.

Nightingale Associates’ studio principal, Denise Medcraff, said: ‘The 26 per cent figure is encouraging but still very low. I know women in other practices who have found employers to be inflexible in accommodating family-friendly working arrangements, and have found few opportunities for training or promotion.’

Once again, the practice with the greatest percentage of female professionals is Darling Associates, where 81 per cent of architects on its books are women.

Other champions of equality include transport experts Weston Williamson, with 53 per cent female architects, Pollard Thomas Edwards with 48 per cent and ADP, with 42 per cent.

The AJ100 data mirrors that from the RIBA’s Future Trends survey, which shows that women currently represent 25 per cent of all architectural staff – a drop from 28 per cent at the end of 2008.

The institute’s director of practice, Adrian Dobson, said: ‘Women probably were disproportionately impacted by the recession but the change is not dramatic. The most striking figure [from our research] is that women represent 38 per cent of architectural assistants but only 11 per cent of equity partners and directors, so there is a still a big drop as you go up in seniority.’

Read the full findings of the AJ100 survey, including profiles of all the practices featured in the rankings, in a special edition of the AJ on 17 May.

AJ100 Awards: 16 May, The Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London
The awards night is an exclusive event and tickets are only available to AJ100 practices and their clients, making it the only gathering of its type.
Call Andrew Dunne on 020 7728 4422 to find out what table packages are available to you or book online at




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