Architects are in the money - it's official.
The RIBA this week released figures which show that architects' average earnings are up well above inflation at £30,000. This is up from £28,500 last year and represents a rise of 5 per cent, compared with the 3 per cent retail price index. The news represents a breakthrough since architects' pay has been lagging behind the inflation level for the past nine years. The biggest rises were to be had by sole principals, whose earnings jumped by 8 per cent to an average of £26,000, while the highest paid group continues to be principles in partnership, whose average pay packet was £38,000.
RIBA head of press Tony Chapman called the figures 'encouraging' and put them down to factors such as the effects of the Lottery and extra housing demands but said that better news was elsewhere in the statistics, where the level of under-employment - not having enough work - has halved since last year. Unemployment has also dropped to 1 per cent from 2 per cent in 1999, with 20,900 now in full-time employment.
London heads the earnings figures, with an average salary of £33,000, 10 per cent clear of the national figure.
But the South East as a region is fast catching up. Architects here saw their earnings rise by 12 per cent to reach £32,000. Architects in Scotland, by contrast, suffered with salaries 10 per cent lower than the UK median, although all regions were better off than last year. Only the Midlands and East Anglia had rises below inflation.
Other interesting facets of the RIBA's survey reveal the majority of practices (20 per cent) have between 1130 architect staff, followed by 18 per cent with just one and 12 per cent in the largest category with more than 51; and more than a quarter of the profession works in Greater London. But, sadly, the picture as regards gender still makes depressing reading. Of all architects, only 12 per cent are female - and of those one in five work part-time.
All the above figures come from the institute's annual employment and earnings survey, carried out by Mirza & Nacey. The firm randomly selected a sample of one in five architects and half responded, so 2100 architects took part this year.