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The 100 pay transparency survey

First results from The Pay 100 study reveal salaries at leading UK architecture studios

The Pay 100 has released the first results from its anonymous salary survey of architects in the UK, which highlights differences in salaries for architecture roles at practices including BIG, Adjaye Associates and Foster + Partners.

The first results of the survey to be released by The Pay 100 – an organisation formed by a group of architectural workers that aims to promote wage transparency in the industry  – asked architecture employees at all levels of seniority to provide information about their salaries anonymously.

Salary disparity reaches £27,000 for architects 

The results published so far show the salaries for three different positions: part I architectural assistants with less than three years of experience, part II architectural assistants with less than three years of experience and architects or architectural designers with less than five years of experience.

According to the survey, average salaries for a part I architectural assistant with less than three years of experience range from £18,500 to £26,500, while the average pay for part II architectural assistants is between £27,000 and £36,000.

For an architect or architectural designer with less than five years of experience, the range is much wider, with average salaries between £21,000 and £48,000 across different practices, a difference of £27,000.

Data released is "an initial snapshot" of wage disparity within the UK architecture industry

Hundreds of architectural workers replied to the survey, according to the organisers.

"The snapshot is made up of hundreds as opposed to thousands of entries, though significantly more employees have contributed since our November 1st publish," The Pay 100 told Dezeen.

"Because of this we are already thinking about updating the results in the near future, to enable maximum clarity whilst data is in its early stages."

In general, the number of answers per role range from one to 10 people from each practice, it added.

The Pay 100 cast doubt on the accuracy of the data at this stage, saying that it will "not be held responsible for representing actual employee average salary figures for any company listed with full accuracy until such time as industry-wide data has been collected".

However, the organisation believed there was value in releasing the indicative results.

"Categories with data that seemed sufficient for an initial snapshot were published," it said. "Other roles categories with 50 or more averaged-out responses will be considered for publication going forward."

The aim is to release all other lists with sufficient data in the future.

"As expected, our first snapshot illuminates that there is indeed salary disparity between practices," the organisation continued.

"We see this as a positive opportunity for those appearing further down in the Pay 100 rankings, to actively appeal to potential employees whilst working towards becoming an Accredited Pay 100 Employer, and enjoying the long-term benefits of cultivating truly valued employees."

Arup among best-paying practices based on initial data release

According to the figures released by The Pay 100 so far, the best-paying studios in each category are EPR Architects (part I assistant), Arup (part II assistant) and PLP Architecture (architect or architectural designer).

The Pay 100 group chose its name as it will eventually publish leaderboards that name the top 100 paying practices.

"We see this as a pivotal moment, marking an active move towards financial improvement across the profession," the group said.

"We truly hope that the Pay 100 results incentivise and inspire healthy competition for employers and employees alike."

Unionisation becoming more common among studios globally

The architecture industry, both in the UK and globally, has previously been criticised for making people work long hours for low pay.

Recently, studios have begun unionising, with the independent trade-union United Voices of the World's Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) launching in 2019.

In the US, Bernheimer Architecture became the first private-sector architecture studio to unionise in the USA.

In an opinion piece for Dezeen, Andrew Daley of Architectural Workers United argued that studio leaders should support unionisation, as this would both help architecture practices thrive and give workers a fair deal.