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North-south divide in pay and hours for women architects

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Female architects in the north of England are paid less, suffer wider gender pay gap, and less likely to be employed full-time

Within England, the survey revealed a north-south divide in working patterns and pay.

Fewer women in the North work full-time, with 68 per cent of female architects in the north employed full-time, compared with 84 per cent of women in the south – a 16 point gap.

WIA Survey

Perception of pay also differs slightly between the north and south of England, with fewer women in the north – just one third of female architects – thinking they would be paid more if they were male, compared with 38 per cent of those working in the south – a five point difference. Both underestimate real differences in pay between men and women in their regions.

Those who work full-time in the North are paid less, with 58 per cent of northern women architects earning less than £32,000, compared with 36 per cent of female architects working in the South of England – a difference of 22 points. In comparison, just 28 per cent of UK male full-time architects earn £32,000 or less.

In Scotland, 87 per cent of women architects surveyed work full-time. Among all Scottish female respondents, 12 per cent think they would be paid more if they were male. The level of response is too low to confirm whether this is true, although just 20 per cent Scottish women architects working full-time report earning more than £37,000, compared with 63 per cent of male full-time architects employed in the UK.

A third of the 926 respondents to the survey are based in London. Thirty-five per cent of architects who filled out the survey are from the rest of the UK, with 8 per cent in Scotland, 11 per cent in northern England, 3 per cent in the Midlands, 9 per cent in southern England excluding London, 2 per cent in Northern Ireland and less than 1 per cent from Wales.

About the survey

More people than ever completed this year’s AJ Women in Architecture online survey: 926 respondents took part – 710 women and 216 men.

Fifty-three per cent of all those who responded to the survey are architects, but it was also filled out by developers, PRs, consultants, structural engineers, quantity surveyors, academics and students, giving a broad insight into the way women are perceived across the industry.

The respondents are predominantly young – 80 per cent are under 40. Half of these are architects, including associates, directors, partners and sole practitioners. More than a third are students.

Of the architects who responded, almost a third are based in London; 24 per cent are in the rest of England, 8 per cent in Scotland, less than 1 per cent in Wales, 2 per cent in Northern Ireland, and 4 per cent are based in the rest of Europe.

Interestingly, the number of respondents completing the survey in the USA has increased sixfold, from just four per cent in 2013 to nearly a quarter – 24 per cent of responses – this year. The increase is likely linked to the impact of Denise Scott Brown’s interview with the AJ last year, which sparked international coverage of the petition to have Scott Brown retroactively included in her partner Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize win.

This survey, now in its third year, is a vital part of the AJ’s on-going campaign to raise the status and profile of women in architecture. The data, collected annually, allows the AJ to track progress in perception, equal pay and position over time. The survey also informs the Women in Architecture campaign’s focus for the coming year in response to concerns shared by women in the industry.

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