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Architects See Salaries Rising

Friday, August 14, 2015

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Architects are getting better salaries and salary increases than they were just a few years ago, but most professional Americans in other fields are still doing better.

That mixed bag of news for those in the field of architecture is the latest analysis from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The professional association released its Compensation Report 2015 earlier this week.

Upward Trend Continues

In a statement released with the report Monday (Aug. 11), the AIA said compensation across the profession increased an average of 1.8 percent per year over the 2013–2014 period, with growth occurring in every architectural staff category.


AIA, which released its 2015 compensation report this week, said compensation across the profession increased an average of 1.8 percent per year over the 2013–2014 period.

The average compensation for architect staff was just under $80,000 earlier this year, the report said. Although 1.8 percent growth is far below the 4 percent to 5 percent averages that the industry has seen for most of the past two decades, it is also well above the less than 1 percent averaged just seven years ago.

Compensation for architects also is up nearly 3.5 percent compared to 2013 levels, the report said.

Yet professionals in other fields are seeing a higher compensation growth rate. The report said that private sector employees have averaged an annual compensation gain of about 2.3 percent since 2013. Professionals and related staff have seen an average of about 2 percent.

But as the U.S. comes out of the Great Recession and the number of construction plans rise, compensation for architects holds a more promising future and stronger momentum.

© / shironosov

The report said that other private sector employees have averaged an annual compensation gain of about 2.3 percent since 2013, while rofessionals have seen an average of about 2 percent.

According to the report, business conditions at architecture firms have been generally good the past two years. The AIA’s Billing Index averaged a 52.1 in 2013 and 52.2 in 2014, with anything over 50 considered to indicate stability. Compensation, the association said, has followed that trend.

“As market conditions continue to improve at architecture firms, and firms continue to add positions, compensation levels are likely to accelerate,” the report states.

Benefits, according to the report, also are on the rise. More firms either increased benefits for their employees or made a larger contribution toward the benefits they already have.

Less Income Disparity

For specific jobs, the average senior designer/project manager and related staff makes $103,400 per year, up from $94,900 in 2011. Architects/designers make $77,100, up from $71,600 just four years ago. Interns—which went from a net loss between 2011 and 2013 of -0.3 percent to a net gain in 2015 of 2 percent—now make about $48,900 per year instead of $47,300.

AIA chart

The average compensation for architectural staff was just under $80,000 earlier this year, while income for CEOs was just 4.5 percent higher than for interns.

Meanwhile, income inequality remains relatively low. While an intern 1 position pays just $42,900, the average CEO position pays $192,200—just 4.5 percent higher—according to the report.

More Results

Other results of the report shows that larger firms have a higher-than-average pay rate and that entry-level candidates in the south—particularly in Texas—do better than the national average.

More than 1,000 firms participated in the latest survey, AIA said.

The full report, which includes salary data for 39 architect firm positions in 28 states, is available for purchase here on the AIA’s website. Also available on that page, for the first time in 2015, is a free salary calculator tool for 17 architectural staff positions.

The cost of the full report is $209.50 for AIA members and $349 non-members. Regional reports also are available for a fee.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architects; Architecture; Business conditions; Business matters; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Commerial/Architectural; Good Technical Practice; Housing starts; North America

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