But it’s not all about money, survey finds

Salary survey 2 flat

Architects’ pay rises in the last year have been outstripped by those of other consultants in the construction industry, according to new figures.

Architectural wages at all levels from associate down to part I have risen by an average of 2% across the country, while directors’ salaries have risen by just one per cent in the last 12 months.

By contrast, QSs’ and building surveyors’ wages have gone up by about 4% and structural engineers’ by 3% in the same period.

An annual salary survey of key professional construction industry roles, compiled by BD’s sister magazine Building with data from recruitment firm Hays, shows that the average pay hike across eight professions was 2.8%.

Richard Gelder, director at Hays Construction & Property, said the number was evidence of a more normal market, adding: “There’s still lots of opportunities, but it’s clearly not as crazy as it was. It’s gone from being silly, to just being very busy.”

Architects’ salaries are broken down by region and seniority (see table). Predictably the highest-earners at all levels are in London, with partners and directors taking home £85,000, associates earning £65,000, qualified architects earning £45,000, part IIs earning £31,000 and part Is on £22,000.

Architects salaries by region and seniority

As a rule, wages are lowest in the north-east, but Wales performed worst at associate level and Scotland for part Is.

There are also tables for architectural technologists and architectural CAD technicians.

Architectural technologists salaries by region and seniority

These show that the average salary of a senior CAD technician is £34,292 – or £25,833 for a junior.

And the average salary of a technologist at associate level is £43,083, falling to £27,500 for a junior.

Architectural cad technicians salaries by region and seniority

The average senior interior designer earns £34,229.

Quantity surveyors are the best-remunerated consultants, at £95,000 for a London-based director. The most senior structural engineers in the capital are on £66,000.

The Hays research found key pinch points around roles such as data scientists that result from the increasing use of technology in the design and operation of buildings, as well as – following the Grenfell tragedy – jobs related to fire safety.

Daniel Harris, senior talent acquisition lead at Aecom, which is 6,800-strong in the UK, said cost managers, project managers and anything to do with fire safety are most often the roles hardest to fill.

While London continues to pay the highest salaries, growth in the capital is now being outpaced by regional cities: Birmingham and Manchester particularly, but also Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

And the survey revealed that how much people are paid is not an employee’s top priority anymore – with issues such as work-life balance and flexibility deemed a greater concern.

James Bryce, director of strategic workforce planning at Arcadis, added: “Financial reward is about fourth or fifth on their list of job priorities. First is a sense of belonging, and of their values being represented in the firm. This attracts a lot of people.”

The data added that less than half – 48% – of workers will look at switching jobs this year compared with 69% in 2017.

The Hays survey adds detail to recent research by recruitment consultant Frame which surveyed architects by years of experience. This found that almost half of junior architects, and those with more than 10 years under their belts, did not get a pay rise last year.