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Survey results: 9 out of 10 graduates still want to be architects

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Only 10 per cent of last year’s architecture graduates plan to leave the profession - despite the industry’s culture of long hours and low wages

According to the annual Student Destinations Survey carried out by the RIBA and the University of Sheffield, 84 per cent of last year’s graduates who had found work had gone into the architectural profession.

The survey asked 2014 Part 1 graduates from Birmingham City University, Cardiff, Kingston, Northumbria, Queen’s, Robert Gordon University, and the University of Sheffield, about their current architectural careers, in an attempt to find out what students do after their architectural education.

The results showed that after graduating from Part 1 most students (90 per cent) planned to stick with architecture as a career choice with just 10 per cent saying they were seeking jobs in other fields. This commitment to the profession comes just months after a major study revealed that nearly two-fifths (38.4 per cent) of architects worked at least 10 hours of overtime every week, most of it unpaid (see AJ 20.11.14).

However, the student survey also revealed some evidence of graduates struggling to find employment in the architecture profession.

Just five per cent of the respondents believed there were enough paid employment opportunities and a sixth had been forced to take on more than one job.

More than half said this additional job was to ‘earn a living’ or ‘pay back loans’.

Only 13 per cent of those who said they were not working in architecture said they were no longer interested in the sector.

Many of those who said they did not want a career in architecture mentioned stress as a factor.

One respondent said: ‘I found third year so utterly demoralising and stressful, that I just wanted to escape from the architecture world. I don’t know what I’d like to do instead (all of our university career guidance was heavily aimed at us becoming architects) and I have very little confidence or belief in my own abilities following my architecture degree’.

Another criticised the role of architecture schools, saying: ‘Quite frankly, architecture school completely put me off the profession for life. It felt like a bullying culture - where grown men (mostly) felt it was ok to rip apart work and reduce students to tears on a weekly basis.’

The survey parental support playing a key role in architectural education, with 38 per cent of those undertaking further study mainly funded through family support in the form of a trust fund, inheritance or allowance.

In addition, male graduates were more likely to be employed on a permanent or open-ended contract on a full-time basis than women, the survey found.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • All good stuff...

    Best thing I've seen this week was the winning garden shed on a BBC gardening prog. tonight by, I think, Manchester students!

    Well done, future architects or not.

    Students of Architecture have so much to look forward to.

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  • ps

    The shed was clad, ridge to ground including the door, in a mirror sheet material, a great disappearing act from pretty well all points of view!

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