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Gender pay gap 2020: Architecture’s slow-to-shift rift remains

Shutterstock gender pay gap miniature figures

A raft of big-name architecture practices have revealed significant gender pay gaps for the third year running

The average woman in the profession earned 16 per cent less per hour worked than her male counterpart on 5 April 2019, according to the latest official figures.

By law, companies employing 250 or more staff must usually reveal their gender pay gap as of 5 April each year by the same date the following year. 

Although the government scrapped mandatory reporting of gender pay for 2019/20 due to the coronavirus, many of those who would have been required to reveal the data have still done so.

The AJ analysed 10 practices for which figures exist on the government website for both the past two years. This showed the median* or average pay gap was 16 per cent in 2019/20 – down just 2.4 percentage points from 18.4 per cent the prior year.

Architecture gender equality action group Part W highlighted the small number of practices covered by the government legislation and called for the RIBA to capture broader diversity data from the profession. 

‘We need leadership from our industry’s main professional membership bodies on this issue, which could in turn lead, for example, to a revision to the charter criteria to commit practices to equal pay,’ said Part W in a statement. ’This is the sort of positive change that is needed.’

The campaigning body also warned that efforts to improve gender equality in the workplace could be damaged by the effects of Covid-19. 

The danger is that when we come out of this period progress on equal pay slows down even further

’The danger, in this challenging time, is that when we come out of this period, progress on equal pay slows down even further. It will be those who can least afford it who bear the brunt of economic challenges ahead.’

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) – founded by the iconic Pritzker Prize-winning female architect Zaha Hadid – fell below Stride Treglown as the practice with the biggest gender pay gap. ZHA saw its gap widen by 1.8 percentage points. The practice was joined by BDP and Arup in seeing its median pay gap rise over the 12 months to April 2019.

In a statement, Zaha Hadid Architects insisted it paid men and women in equivalent roles equally. ‘Our median pay gap exists because a higher proportion of our longest-serving team members are male. We therefore currently have a smaller proportion of women than men in higher-paid senior positions.

‘Measures introduced last year to support the growth and progress of everyone at Zaha Hadid Architects, as well as build greater diversity at every level, have begun to rebalance the company; enabling over 40 women to progress to more senior roles at the end of 2019, including five women joining at director level, and we will continue to see further rebalancing this year.’

Arup said success in boosting the number of women it employed across junior positions had pushed its gap up marginally.

’We realise we have more work to do and remain committed to closing our gender pay gap through implementing processes and policies aimed at creating better gender balance across the firm at all grades,’ the firm added in a statement.

PRP registered by far the greatest fall in median pay gap, slashing its inequality by almost a third to 13.2 per cent.

You can vew full gender pay gap reporting data – including pay quartiles and bonuses – here.

BDP has been contacted for comment on its apparently growing pay gap.

* The median figure, widely recognised as the most accurate way of building a picture of gender pay equality, is the difference between the middle-ranked male and female employee’s salaries at each firm. AJ’s median median therefore uses the middle-ranked employees at the middle-ranked practice to calculate the industry average.

2020

 2019 AJ100 2019/20  2018/19  YOY change (percentage points)
  Number UK architects Percentage women Median pay gap Mean pay gap Median pay gap Mean pay gap   median mean
                     
ZHA 273 38% 22.8% 20.5%   21% 21%   +1.8% -0.5%
Stride Treglown 113 33%  22% 20.6%   22.8% 22%   -0.8% -1.4%
BDP 330 30% 20.6% 22.6%   20.2% 24.7%   +0.4% -2.1%
Atkins 137 30% 18% 18%   20% 21%   -2% -3%
Arup     17.1% 17.8%   16.9% 17.7%   +0.7% +0.1%
AHMM 266 38% 14.9% 24.3%   16.7% 24.9%   -1.8% -0.6%
PRP 98 34% 13.2% 15.2%   19% 17.7%   -5.8% -2.5%
Sheppard Robson 177 33% 9.2% 10.8%   10% 9.8%   -0.8% +1%
Foster + Partners 362 37% 8.8% 22.6%   9.8% 22.9%   -1% -0.3%
Grimshaw 142 42% 8% 12%   9.1% 14.2%   -1.1% -2.2%
                     
Median median     16%     18%     -2pp  
mean mean       18.40%     19.60%     -1.2 pp

2019

PracticeNo of employees % female architects Median pay gap (lower) YOY changeMean pay gap (lower)YOY change
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 379* 37%* 16.7% +4.4% 24.9% +1.3%
Allies and Morrison 285* 45%* 7% -3.5% 12.9% -2.9%
Arup 16.9% +0.2% 17.7% +0.3%
Atkins 10,000* 30%* 20% 21%
BDP 822* 30%* 20.2% -5.3% 24.7% -4.8%
Foster + Partners 1,061* 36%* 9.8% -0.7% 22.9% -0.9%
Hakwins\Brown 244* 34%* 6% +3.4% 5% -4.6%
PRP 260* 33%* 19% -2% 17.7% -1.3%
Sheppard Robson 356* 34%* 10% -0.9% 9.8% -1.2%
Stride Treglown 325* 31%* 22.8% -5.9% 22% -1.4%
Zaha Hadid 323% 35%* 21% +1.4% 21% +0.1%

*Based on data from AJ100 2018

2018

PracticeNo of employees% female architects

Median pay gap (lower)Mean pay gap (lower)
AECOM 6874 28% 21.9% 21.5%
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris 341 35%** 12.3% 23.6%
Allies and Morrison 284** 43% 10.5% 15.8%
Arup 16.7% 17.4%
Atkins 8113** 27% 20% 21%
BDP 772** 27%** 25.5% 29.5%
Foster + Partners 1425 35% 10.5% 23.8%
Hawkins\Brown 246** 38%** 2.6% 9.6%
Jacobs 7100** 24%** 27.9% 29.4%
NPS 953** 15%** 31% 26.6%
Pick Everard 452** 20%** 24.3% 21.1%
PRP 266** 38%** 21% 19%
Sheppard Robson 342** 31%** 10.9% 11%
Stride Treglown 327** 26% 28.7% 23.4%
TP Bennett 299** 24%** 12.8% 17.9%
Zaha Hadid 310 37%** 19.6% 20.9%

**Based on data from AJ100 2017

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