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Zogolovitch speaks out over 'absurd' graduate wages


Architect and developer Roger Zogolovitch has branded the low wages for architectural graduates as ‘absurd’ and called for colleges to help students market their services in a commercial environment

The creative director of Solidspace said the architectural profession was failing to properly value its skills compared to other professions such as lawyers or business managers.

Speaking at the Archiboo event How to think like an entrepreneur, Zogolovitch said: ‘It is totally and utterly absurd that architects’ median income when they enter the profession - after nine-and-a-half years of training - is £23,500 per year.

‘Yet a graduate from an MBA course can earn up to £250,000 per year.’

He added: ‘But is there anyone in this room that has heard the RIBA or anybody say this is ridiculous? No, because they say “This is what you get as an architect”.

‘Why? Because there is some notion that we don’t monetise our services [yet] we know that a course such as an MBA teaches their students the value of their services better. We say “Oh well, we’re having a good time”.’

Zogolovitch also urged architects to better and more robustly protect their intellectual property (IP).

He added: ‘We go home after we have seen the client, and we draw it up all night, and go back to the client and say “This is something I came up with overnight”.

‘You wouldn’t find that from an MBA graduate. If they have an idea they go to the IP lawyer, there would be a contract before the client saw it and there would be payment on the table.

‘Our thinking hasn’t managed to connect that and as a profession that needs to change.’

Zogolovitch’s comments echo those made by RIBA president Stephen Hodder earlier this week, who urged architects to stop undervaluing their services and their staff in a bid to tackle to the ‘legacy of fee cutting’ (see AJ 26.11.14).


Readers' comments (3)

  • Is it the case that some RIBA Council members are also employers who are happy pay these 'absurd' wages?

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  • We are not needed as much as an IP lawyer, the client can get their scheme designed without us cheaper and quicker.

    How do we express the value of design when it is seen by many as an unnecessary expense?

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  • kirsty is absolutely spot on. Architect's are always being lambasted for not being entrepreneurial enough, but this is not entirely fair. Over the last few centuries, architecture has moved from being on the side of the establishment to it's critic, as industrialised society has adopted planned obsolescence, throw away culture and the jettisoning of the idea of intrinsic value. Bramante and his patrons agreed that buildings should last a long time and that they should have a cultural and civic content achieved via artistic means. The architect of today believes the same as Bramante but his/her patron does not. Their patron believes in high rate of return on investment measured only in monetary terms and that a building's value is what someone sitting in an office thousands of miles away says it is. This crass measure of return on investment/value ignores the fact that the value of money itself has become completely changeable. Thus Bramante's entrepreneurship was of a completely different kind to that which architects are always being told they have to adopt today. The fact that architect's instinct is not to play this absurd game leads to our absurd salaries and there is no way to square this circle

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