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Wage survey: sole pracitioners' pay continues to plummet

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Average earnings for sole practitioners has fallen again, dropping by seven per cent in the last year to £32,569

According to the findings from the RIBA and Fees Bureau’s 2012 Employment & Earnings Survey, pay for sole prinicipals has plummeted by more than £12,000 in the last four years. In 2008 the average pay for a one-man band was £45,000. 

However there was better news for architects working in larger practices. The figures show that the average salary is now £41,100, a rise in line with inflation of three per cent between 2011 and 2012.

Meanwhile the rate of unemployment for architects has fallen from 4 per cent to 3 per cent over the last 12 months.

A spokesman for the RIBA said the drop was likely down to the ‘significant’ growth in the number of sole principal archtiects since 2010, ‘with many architects previously employed by larger firms setting up their own practice’.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: ‘There is… obvious concern for the welfare of sole practitioners, who have seen a further significant reduction in earnings, and the RIBA will continue to do all it can to support and promote architectural practices of all sizes.

‘[However] following two consecutive years of falling earnings it is clearly a positive sign that architects’ earnings and employment have stabilised in 2012.  Although we have yet to see any clear sign of recovery, the survey findings give cause for cautious optimism.’

Other findings in the 2012 Employment & Earnings Survey:

  • The majority of architects (52 per cent) work between 37.5 and 37.9 hours per week. 22 per cent work more than 40 hours per week. (The national average for office workers is 37 hours per week)
  • 38 per cent of the profession is in London and 18 per cent in the South East region
  • In 2012, 94 per cent of architects are white. 1 per cent of architects are Black or Black British, and 3 per cent are Asian or Asian British
  • The survey revealed that 22 per cent of organisations do not have a formal equal opportunities policy, and 9 per cent of architects were not aware if their practice did or not. 5 per cent felt their organisation did not apply the principles of equal opportunities effectively.
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