Linear Recruitment's 2023 Architecture Salary Survey 

We’re pleased to present the results of our second Architecture & Design survey. Designed to provide insight into the salaries and benefits packages within the sector, along with gauging job satisfaction and salary expectations.

To produce this report, we've combined our own data on placements made in 2023 and live vacancies, along with the results from an external salary survey. We believe this report will help us continue to improve our service levels and give us a greater understanding of our market, enabling us to serve our clients and candidates better. It will help us to ensure we work with the best clients and place the best candidates in roles that are well-remunerated and where job satisfaction is paramount.

How is the Architecture sector in the UK performing?
According to RIBA’s Economic report the architects’ market is currently underperforming and the next two to three years are likely to see only modest growth. The economy is weak with high (but falling) inflation and as it’s widely documented, interest rates have risen and are likely to stay high. Predictions for the construction industry are for a return to modest growth in 2024 and 2025, but the housing sector along with housing repair, maintenance, and improvement, are performing poorly, and this has affected the architecture sector, along with external pressures, such as the high interest rates, making it more difficult to finance projects. Small practices typically rely more on housing work to ensure business viability and the outlook amongst small practices is more negative than that of medium and large practices, who typically have a wider portfolio of work and less reliance on housing. Inflationary pressures have also had an impact on salaries in the UK, as real take home pay has fallen and the cost of living crisis extended.

What does all this mean for salaries and job satisfaction within the sector?
We have given our views on what we have experienced over the year, and presented some data on placements made, live vacancies and the results of the survey.

What has our survey shown about job satisfaction?
Our results indicate that 45% of respondents are happy with their current salary package, which is an increase of 9% based on the results of our 2022 survey. However 62% of respondents believe their salary package to be lower than expectations with 38% saying it only met their expectations. No responses believed it to be higher than expectations.

It is worth noting that this is a relatively small set of data and might not necessarily represent the wider market, and might be more of a reflection of the current cost of living crisis and inflation levels.

The Results
Breaking the data down from the survey, the results below show the average salary by job title.

When comparing these figures to last year’s survey results, we have seen some increases; a 5% increase in the average salary for Architectural Technologists and for Architectural Technicians over the year, but when we look at placements we have made and vacancies we are working on these figures from the survey are lower than our averages.
There’s also been a large increase in Senior Architect salaries - up from an average of £41000 in last year’s survey to almost £50,000 this year, and we’re seeing roles that we’re currently working on paying up to £55,000, almost £10,000 more than last year.
Regional variances affect the salary that is paid too - the market across the North West is out-performing the North East, but there more larger Architectural practices across the North West, with more competition, leading to higher salaries and packages being offered.

What additional benefits did our respondents receive and what's deemed most important?
43% of respondents received some form of bonus, whether it was a fixed monetary amount or a percentage of their salary. This is an increase on the figure from last year (33%). We also found that over 60% have their professional membership fees paid as part of their remuneration package. When comparing the data to last year’s, around the same percentage of people have the ability to work from home (70%), and/or flexible working arrangements, a continuation of the normalisation of hybrid and flexible working arrangements that has soared since the pandemic, giving employees more control and choice. What we can also see which supports this is the value that people place on a work life balance; 64% of respondents deemed it to be the most important aspect of their overall job satisfaction and a third of respondents ranked flexible working hours as the most important.
Along with the value of a work life balance and flexibility, clearly salary is a priority for overall job satisfaction, and we’re seeing again how important the company culture is; almost 80% of responses were ranked as either a 4 or 5 on the scale, 5 being the most important. Annual leave is a priority too, reiterating the fact that people are seeking a better work life balance. When taking an overall look at whether people are happy in their role, 56% of respondents were, a 3% decrease compared to last year’s result.
Overall it is clear that employers who offer a combination of benefits are highly likely to attract and retain top talent into the workplace and more likely to have employees who are happy in their jobs.

What about placements that we have made and how do we think the market is performing?

The tables and chart above show some of the placements we have made across the year, with the average salaries for those roles. The additional table to the left shows some of the roles we are currently working on, with the minimum and maximum salaries on offer. It’s hard to give a consistent answer on how we think the Architecture market has performed this year - it has certainly been unpredictable and intriguing, but somewhat resilient to the economic climate. We have unfortunately witnessed companies struggling due to the challenging economy whilst other companies have monumentally thrived throughout the year with limited impact. The summer period appeared a lot slower than usual, but we are finding the end of the year is finishing where it started -strong. The initial struggles do appear to be thankfully behind us now, so we are building towards an exciting 2024 ahead. 
There has been demand for experienced hires throughout the year, but entry level and more junior level Architecture roles certainly haven’t been as prominent. Part 1 and Part 2 Architecture students in parts of the UK have unfortunately felt the pinch of 2023. 2022 saw a sharp rise in salaries, especially for Architectural Technologists, Landscape Architects and Town Planners. These seem to have settled down now at their ‘new’ levels through 2023. These positions are certainly causing challenges for Architecture and Planning companies when looking to recruit, very much still candidate-lead.
We don’t expect salaries to increase much further, but if you are underpaid / under-valued, it would be wise to make the move given the strength of packages being offered. The Architecture market has seen many businesses invest heavily into their office spaces and staff, to embrace smarter working arrangements whilst improving social and environmental impact. Several of our clients have gone on to successfully achieved B-Corp accreditation. Businesses have further looked to embrace other incentives, such as Improved bonuses, enhanced maternity / paternity, reduced working weeks, compulsory paid overtime, technology upgrades, mental health and wellbeing days, regular staff trips and sabbatical leave. Hybrid / flexibility has certainly become a normality left to preference.
As a division we’ve embraced a solid second year, with Ishitha Kashim joining the team to build on our current relationships and expansion plans across the Southern region. After her fantastic start, we are excited to see how Ishitha continues to grow and can’t wait to see what next year brings. On to 2024! As always, don’t hesitate to contact us should you need any further information or help.

Elliot Birtwistle - Divisional Manager Architecture

Ishitha Kashim - Senior Recruitment Consultant

To download a pdf version of this report, just click here