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AJ100 survey shows salaries trailing behind improving workloads

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Architects’ salaries are still not rising, despite an increase in practices’ workloads

Data from this year’s AJ100 survey shows the median pay for an architect remains at £36,000 – a figure that has not changed for the past three years.

Architects’ median salaries peaked in 2007 at £38,100, but fell in the economic downturn.

Meanwhile, median wages for Part 3s and students continues to wane from last year, dropping to £26,400 (from £27,000) and £19,500 (from £20,000) respectively.

At more senior levels the picture is rosier, with practice directors seeing their median wages increase by an inflation-busting 2.5 per cent – up to £77,000 from £75,500 last time.

But, while pay at the bottom end stagnates, the new data show workloads are up.

The figures taken from the annual snapshot of the country’s top 100 practices, which will be revealed in full on 22 May, show growth is widespread across the industry.

The fee income of AJ100-ranked practices has increased by a massive £20 million on last year’s figures, totalling £930 million, with 75 per cent of this work being carried out in the UK.

Fees Bureau director Aziz Mirza said it often took time for workload increases to translate into pay. He said: ‘Just because workload is up doesn’t mean it will immediately feed through to pay rises, which probably explains why salary rises are muted. Maybe the reason we’re not seeing architects’ salaries rising now is because rises in workloads are comparatively recent.’

However Lindsay Urquhart-Turton of recruitment specialists Bespoke Careers felt the figures did not reflect the true picture in the architectural job market. She said: ‘Median Architects are in very high demand and the skills shortage left by five years of recession means practices are having to pay more for people who ‘can get stuff built’.

‘We think £40,000 to £42,000 would be more likely [for that role]. £36,000 is low.’

She added: ‘We are also seeing really good Part II’s with circa two years post Part II getting £27,000 to £28,000 and recent Part III qualified getting circa £30,000+.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Running a practice and balancing the books at the end of a recession is still extremely difficult - I know this all too well. Historically more practices fail as the economy turns upwards as they are faced with increasing workload and a requirement for more staff, but have to manage with an income tethered to recession-based fee levels from historical jobs. Don't be surprised if it takes a year or so to fully get this balance right.

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