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Unemployment continues to rise among UK architects

The number of jobless architects is continuing to rise - but at a much slower rate

According to the Office for National Statistics, the total of UK architects claiming unemployment benefit has hit 1,780 – a 989 per cent increase on the same period last year, when only 180 were registered unemployed.

However last month just 15 new claims were made for benefits which is a significant drop compared to the 370 architects who joined the dole queue in May.

Architect Falk Fritsch, still unemployed after losing his job at SDA Architects in February, said: ‘Practices are letting the designers – the job-winners – go. The reputation of the profession is going to suffer in the long-term.’

The latest unemployment figures echo the findings of the RIBA’s latest Future Trends Survey for June which found that 75 per cent of firms expected staff levels to remain constant in the next three months.

Released last week, the survey said that practices expecting job cuts decreased from 23 per cent in May to 16 per cent in June, and that 8 per cent of practices expected staff levels to increase over the next three months.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Is that because there no more architects left to sack?

    On a different note, the industry are aware that redundancies have been made, but are loath to hire people who have been have been out of work for some time. There seems to be a profession wide denial that people are out of work and if you are then it's your fault. My advice to Falk Fritsch: re-train, as your chances of getting a job in the industry (after this length of unemployment) are probably zero.

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  • The wider issue that no one is openly taking about at the moment is that the profession is in the process of devalueing itself, something that will ultimately be nothing but harmful to itself, by itself.

    The majority of my peers who are still in work, are still employed because a) they are valued by their practice and b) their salary has been cut by upto 20% just so the practice can survive the downturn.

    This is a large sum of money for anyone to swallow, and makes an underpaid, undervalued profession even more so.

    Are we going to see salary levels return to pre recession levels?, or are we going to be told in a few months time after the next 'salary survey' that this is now what an architects skill and passion is worth? - not a lot to anyone apparently.

    Maybe we architects should all go and drive tube trains, I mean we would get a pay increase, and London would not grind to a halt under another strike because the architects driving the tube would appreciate having a job in these tough times!

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  • I agree with Comment #2 - why don't we all just give up and become bus drivers or binmen - in Scotland just now both groups are going on strike for more pay.

    I have friends who are newly qualified this year, didn't get a pay rise after training for 7 and a half years and are now earning around £15k following their 20% pay cut. It's an absolute shambles that this can be allowed - they could earn more collecting rubbish in the streets.

    Just makes you wonder what's the point...

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  • I thought I was a valued member of staff until I was told to clear-off last October. Not worked since, well not full-time.

    Practices are holding on to cheap labour i.e. part I and II cad monkeys. Cheap staff take precedence over 'valued' staff and they're the ones still working.

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  • As a recruiter within Architecture I've been conducting my own independant survey of small and large practices alike across the UK since the New Year and I feel things are just about at the bottom. The content of my contact with practices now is far more positive than just 2 months ago - roughly 1 in 5 say they will need staff realistically within a couple of months; I know that's not perfect but it's a hell of a lot better than the calls I was making from January to March when 3 in every 4 calls focussed solely on redundancies. Many of my competitors jumped ship or were pushed by employers who weren't willing to see the tough times through - at least my firm are sticking with it so we're here with the contacts to help people when the better times return. You're probably asking why I haven't given my name and company details - well, I don't want to be accused of CV hoarding like others. My advice is no different to others probably: get out your little black book of contacts, register on every relevant job site, read the press and contact 3 (max) agents... Good luck to you all.

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  • Ive decided to do a law transfer degree and expect to increase my salary by 35% in a years time.

    really cant be bothered with a career of ups and downs if I am perfectly honest. I might even be able to afford to build my own home in a few years!

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