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Pay - Women in architecture survey 2013

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The AJ Women in Architecture survey is an important part of our ongoing campaign to raise the status and profile of women architects. Data, collected annually, will enable the AJ to track progress over time

The survey

Now in its second year, nearly 900 people completed the latest online survey: 700 women and 191 men between November 2012 and January 2013.

Fifty-seven per cent of all respondents are architects, 51 per cent are based in London, with 27 per cent in the rest of England, nine per cent in Scotland, four per cent in the USA, two per cent in Europe, two per cent in Australia, two per cent in Canada, one per cent in Wales, 0.6 per cent in Northern Ireland and 0.5 per cent in the Republic of Ireland. One third of respondents are students.

Of the women respondents, 64 per cent are aged between 21 and 35. Half are based in London, and 55 per cent are architects (working in both the private and public sectors; and as associates, directors, partners and sole practitioners). Thirty three per cent are students.

Of the male respondents, 58 per cent are aged between 21 and 35. Fifty-three per cent are based in London, 62 per cent are architects. Twenty-nine per cent of male respondents are students.


Pay is the litmus test of equality. It remains a crucial issue for those who took part in the survey. Looking at the total respondents, more than half (56 per cent) earn £32k a year or less - which in itself does not point to a highly-paid profession. In answer to the question ‘Do you think everybody should know their colleagues’ earnings?’ the split is almost exactly 50:50 yes:no.

Drilling down further into the data, the survey finds 59 per cent of women respondents, working both full and part-time, earn less than £32k, compared with 45 per cent of male respondents - a 14-point difference.

A substantial 44 per cent of women think they would be paid more if they were male (down from 48 per cent last year). The survey shows that they are likely to be right.


Nineteen per cent of women working full-time as architects in the UK earn £26k and under, compared with 14 per cent of men. While nearly one third of male architects (31 per cent) working full-time in the UK earn £48k and more, just 18 per cent of female architects working full-time earn this amount.

The pay discrepancy is most pronounced at the most senior levels. At full-time director level, 46 per cent of women in the UK earn £42k and under, compared with 31 per cent of men.

Men cluster around the top of the pay scale. So 17 per cent of women full-time directors in the UK earn between £43k and £60k, compared with 6 per cent of men. But, while only 37 per cent of full-time women directors in the UK earn between £61k and £99k, 63 per cent of their male counterparts earn in this bracket.


Thirty-two per cent of women - down from 44 per cent last year - report that male colleagues who do the same or similar job earn more than they do. (44 per cent say they don’t know.)


Meanwhile, 70 per cent of men think female colleagues who do the same or a similar job do not earn less than they do, while 71 per cent of male respondents do not think they are paid more than their female colleagues.

Men seem less inclined to pay transparency than women: 59 per cent of men don’t think everyone should know their colleagues’ earnings, compared with 49 per cent of women.

Twenty-two per cent of women respondents think the current economic climate is likely to lead to a decrease in pay parity between men and women.

Fifty-eight per cent of women respondents think downturns in the economy are likely to be harder on women than men in the industry, while 68 per cent of men think they are likely to be equally hard for both genders.


Do you think the downturn is going to be harder on women or men?

Women respond:

‘Downturns affect the industry as a whole. Whether you wear trousers or a skirt, if no one has any money for you to design something - you won’t get paid’

‘The downturn makes it much harder to take a career break, or request flexible working patterns’

‘More women need to work part time or flexible hours - so are more vulnerable to redundancies’

‘Women generally are more likely to work part time or can’t work overtime due to childcare issues, so they get cut before a full-time male employee’

‘Architects tend to run their practices with very tight margins - and with the dominant decision-makers being male, I strongly suspect that women are seen as a liability due to potential maternity rights and the potential to request part-time working, which is not well supported in the industry as a whole’

‘Men are seen as less risk to employers’

‘Women are cheaper but men “have families to support”, so both are either favoured or otherwise’

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