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AJ100 salary survey: wages rise for big earners but stall for new starters

Shutterstock cash high earner pile money
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New data from this year’s AJ100 shows that salaries for experienced architects are on the rise, but wages for those beginning their careers continue to stagnate

According to information submitted by the nation’s top 100 largest practices, associates saw median salaries rise by 6.5 per cent to £54,830, with associates outside London seeing their pay packets increase by 7.6 per cent.

Salaries for partners/directors were 3.5 per cent higher than last year at £88,000 and architects’ salaries rose by 2.1 per cent to £40,000.

But litte has changed for less-experienced architectural staff, with year-out students’ median wage remaining at £22,000, while the median salary for Part 3 students actually dropped, falling 2.4 per cent to £29,275.

Aj100 salaries 2019

Aj100 salaries 2019

These findings broadly tally with architectural recruitment company Bespoke Careers’ experience of the market, according to Jill Showell, principal of the London office.

She said: ‘I’d agree that at associate level there is more upward salary movement. It’s a good time to be stepping up and proving your worth. For Part 2 and young Part 3s, it remains the same.’

This year’s survey shows that 29 of the AJ100 practices paid their partners/directors on average more than £100,000 – three more companies than last year.

However, only five reported average salaries for partners/directors of more than £150,000, compared with seven last year.

Again there is significant disparity between salaries of practices in London and those with no presence in the capital. On average, London-only practices pay their partners/directors 42 per cent more than those without a presence there.

The premium for associates, meanwhile is half this at 21 per cent, while for architects it is just 10 per cent.

Part 3 and year-out students are paid about 20 per cent more by the London-only companies.

Despite the upward movement for more senior architects this year, pay in the profession has grown at below the rate of inflation for many years, resulting in a decline in real pay for most employees.

However, the AJ100’s survey of employees again finds that most people working at the UK’s biggest firms who participated in the survey remain satisfied (50 per cent) or even very satisfied (29 per cent) with their salaries.

Only one in eight is dissatisfied, with the remaining 9 per cent neutral.

This distribution is almost identical to that found in last year’s survey. True take-home pay will be greater in most cases than the salaries reported in the AJ100 survey, since the great majority of practices (84 out of 103) have bonus schemes.

More analysis of the AJ100 data will be published in the forthcoming print edition. 

The winner of this year’s AJ100 awards will be announced at the annual gala dinner event on 19 June at the Tower of London.

Analysis 4 salaries aj100 2019 satisfaction

Analysis 4 salaries aj100 2019 satisfaction

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Compared with the Consumer Price Index it seems to me that everyone has been taking a pay cut for years.

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  • Erm...no matter how you dress this up...”pay in the profession has grown at below the rate of inflation for many years, resulting in a decline in real pay for most employees”, confirms the death of a profession. The wise should retrain and abandon ship and aspirants should rethink their career choice immediately. This can only get worse and will end in tears at bedtime. What about the new role of ‘Carbontect’ or ‘Ecotect’?

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