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Average salaries fall for UK architects

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Average salaries across Britain’s 100 largest architecture practices have fallen to pre-2007 levels, according to data compiled by the AJ

It is the first time average annual salaries for architects and associates have dropped since the AJ100, the AJ’s annual countdown of Britain’s biggest practices, began reporting salaries in 2003.

Partners and directors suffered the highest loss, with their average salaries falling from £84,458 in 2008 to £82,378. Associate salaries slipped from £48,666 to £48,378, while architects’ pay fell from £38,148 to £38,007.

Tim Hall, managing director of Lewis & Hickey’s London office, confirmed its senior staff had taken a pay cut last September, followed by ‘core personnel’ in April 2009. Senior staff accepted a bigger cut.

Graham Wiseman, managing director of SOM’s London office, would not confirm that staff at the firm had taken pay cuts, but said: ‘If you ask someone to take
a voluntary pay cut, it helps if the person doing the asking has taken a bigger one.’

One major UK firm contacted by the AJ said that, while it had not dropped salaries, there was a company-wide pay freeze: ‘Normally at the end of the year all salaries are reviewed, normally upwardly. But this year we have had to put in a freeze. In 2009 there isn’t a firm in the land not considering redundancies, so it would seem crass to request or deliver pay rises. Keeping people employed is key for us.’

A statement from the RIBA was cautiously optimistic, however. ‘The RIBA has been monitoring the current economic climate through the Future Trends Survey,’ it said, ‘which suggested a modest improvement for salaried architects’ employment prospects in March 2009, with 67 per cent of all practices expecting staff levels to remain constant over the next three months, compared to 62 per cent in February.’

See AJ 28.05.09 for the AJ’s 2009 list of Britain’s biggest practices

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