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RIBA Future Trends Survey: underemployment and declining overseas work

The number of underemployed architects has continued to rise while international work has started to drop, according to the latest findings by RIBA.

According to the Future Trends Survey for March, the number of individual respondents claiming there is a lack of work now stands at 32 per cent, up from 21 per cent in January 2009. The proportion of work coming from projects based overseas, meanwhile has fallen from 9 per cent in January to 5 per cent.

Commenting on these results, Adrian Dobson, director of practice at RIBA said: ‘A decline in this work base, coupled with loss of capacity in the profession through job losses, could threaten the capability of the UK architects’ profession to play its part in this vital export sector going forward.’

Elsewhere the survey reveals minimal changes from last month’s data on workloads with 44 per cent of all respondents expected their workloads to decline over the next three months, compared to 46 per cent. A great number of larger practices were predicting a reduced workload of 50 per cent over the next three months, compared to 44 per cent in February.

A small improvement in terms of redundancies and staff retention is anticipated, with 67 per cent of all practices expected staff levels to remain constant over the next three months, compared to 62 per cent in February.

The figures differ from those findings in February, which revealed a declining workload, particularly in the commercial sector and growing fears over redundancies were the main concerns.

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