Following the recent ten-year anniversary of the financial crash, it's worth noting how much the world has changed. Thankfully there are now thousands of people who have entered the architecture profession without experiencing the chaos of a decade ago.
Brexit aside, the 2018 architectural jobs market has generally been pretty positive and work is readily available for suitably qualified architects. Financially, however, the situation appears bleaker and little has changed since 2008. 9B’s annual salary survey received more than 1,500 responses from staff across the UK and showed architectural salaries within practices rose by just 0.6% over the last year. This is a long way behind inflation currently running at 2.4% and the second year in a row that salaries have failed to keep pace. During the last 10 years, tuition fees have also increased dramatically, which for a career like architecture, with long periods in education, will have an even larger impact. With architectural salaries stagnating, it is hard to see how today’s graduates will afford to repay growing student debt.
During the next decade it will be interesting to see whether the length of architectural education is reduced or practices find ways to increase fees to afford better salaries. Parag Prasad, Managing Director of London Business Coaching, has coached the owners of more than 50 architecture practices in London and said issues around profit margins, pricing models and company finances are a near universal concern. His advice is to firstly establish the correct mindset. “Many architects have a victim mentality. They expect to be bullied and pushed around by developers and other people higher up in the food chain. If you don't stand up for yourself, people will take advantage and you won't get paid what you deserve.
Second, you need training in professional sales and negotiation skills. Many architects don't even attempt to negotiate their fees, or worse they think they need to discount their prices in order to win work at all!
And finally, there's a massive culture of over-servicing in the architecture industry. You need to make sure you're monitoring actual time spent vs your budgeted time for each client. Many practices are massively over-servicing clients."
The one bit of good news from the survey is that gaining your Part 3 has become more valuable with recently qualified architects being paid around £4,650 more than Part 2s with the same number of years’ experience in practice. This is up by £450 compared to last year.
For those with experience, there are opportunities outside traditional architectural practice which are paying significantly higher salaries. These positions with developers or client side for retail or hotel chains, for example, are however fewer in number and generally a move into more project management roles.
The results of the survey have also highlighted the disparity in the wages of male and female architects with the same number of years’ experience. On average, female architectural staff are being paid £1,689 less than their male counterparts. This difference expands to more than £6,000 for architectural staff with 11-20 years of experience.
The final section of the report looks at the additional benefits practices offer. For instance, in many cases, flexible working arrangements can have a greater impact on someone’s life than salary and bonuses and a good overall package can lead to better staff retention. I hope you find this a useful guide to the current salaries and if you would like to discuss further, please do give us a call.
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