One of the UK’s biggest architecture firms, Archial, has been forced to reduce staff salaries to cope with the dramatic slowdown in the construction sector
According to sources within the AIM-listed company, formerly known as the SMC Group, the management has imposed a 3 per cent pay cut across the firm, with directors taking an 8 per cent cut.
Chris Littlemore, Archial chief executive, admitted the company had acted in a bid to handle the pressures of the current financial crisis, but declined to comment on the specifics.
‘As all practices, we are looking to control our costs and plan for the future. We have had to make some minimal changes to the practice, as any responsible business should,’ said Littlemore.
As the SMC Group, Archial was ranked fourth in last year’s AJ100 countdown of the UK’s largest practices. The company will publish its year-end financial results on 2 April, and Littlemore added that they would be ‘very encouraging’.
Archial is not the only big-name firm to have trimmed wages. London-based Haskoll has also been forced to make changes due to reduced workloads. Derek Barker, managing director at Haskoll, confirmed that on top of a reduction in staff numbers during 2008, voluntary pay cuts have been taken by all members of staff following a series of meetings.
‘The higher-grade employees are taking a higher discount,’ said Barker. ‘We would like to restore full pay as soon as possible, but it is difficult to say when.’
Figures from the RIBA’s Future Trends Survey revealed that 30 per cent of architects surveyed in February were unemployed or underemployed.