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Number of architects in Europe booms

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The number of architects working across the continent has risen by 6 per cent over the past two years, according to a study published by the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE)

Drawn up by research expert The Fees Bureau, the just-published 2014 survey estimated there were now 565,000 qualified architects in Europe with the biggest increase found in Southern Europe.

The growth in the profession comes despite a 2 per cent contraction in the whole population.

The report said the latest rise was ‘probably’ explained by increasing numbers of young architects entering the profession at a time when fewer older architects were retiring.

The Architectural Profession in Europe – 2014 found that Italy was home to more than a quarter of the continent’s architects. According to the survey, Italy’s headcount of 153,000 architects means there are 2.5 professionals for every 1,000 citizens. The UK was said to have 34,300 architects, giving a density of 0.5.

Unemployment among architects was reported at 7 per cent across the continent - with the highest rates in Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Average revenue for single-architect practices fell in comparison to 2012’s figures, but revenue for practices with two-to-five staff ‘nudged higher’.

While the biannual report found improvements in the profession’s gender balance, with women now making up up 39 per cent of the sector, it also recorded women under the age of 40 working as architects – possibly as a result of the economic crisis.

Other findings included a 22 per cent rise in sole practitioners compared with the previous study, in 2012. The number of practices of all other sizes had fallen.

Austria led the continent in terms of sole-principal practices - 72 per cent of architects in the country stated they worked alone. In the UK the proportion was 14 per cent.

ACE president Luciano Lazzari said the survey was a valuable data source that showed how the profession had been changed and transformed by the economic crisis and what the ‘new reality’ looked like.

‘The 2014 Study shows some encouraging trends and positive perspectives for the profession,’ he said.

‘Some of the more negative statistics appear to be behind us –  unemployment has fallen, practice revenues have slightly risen, more architects are working full-time, and workloads for the next year are expected to increase.

‘However, these positive developments must not hide the fact that the situation differs greatly from one country to another.

‘A north-south split is still noticeable, and the situation continues to deteriorate in several countries.

‘The market remains at a standstill in southern Europe and underemployment and unemployment remain a major concern for numerous architects.’

The full 104-page survey is based on 18,000 responses from architects in 26 countries. It can be read here.

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