What does the 2022 RIBA Business Benchmarking Report tell us about architects’ salaries?

After a year of rising inflation, our Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson reviews salary data from the 2022 RIBA Business Benchmarking Report. Which staff from chartered practices are receiving increases? Where are there pay gaps? Why do practices need to be particularly attentive that all their staff are paid at or above the Living Wage?

RIBA Salary report 2023

The RIBA Jobs Salary Report 2023 uses data from the RIBA Business Benchmarking Report, published in December 2022, drawing on insights from nearly 4,000 RIBA Chartered Practices. Detailed breakdowns of all staff types (by region and practice size) are available exclusively to RIBA Chartered Practices via www.ribabenchmark.com

In 2022*, average salaries for most staff types within RIBA Chartered Practices have increased, reflecting upward pressure on pay and the desire to recruit and retain talent.

Average salary rises are uneven however, with some staff types faring better than others.

  • Average salaries for architects who have been registered with the ARB for five years or more is higher by 4 per cent and now stands at £41,489, whilst architects with fewer than 5 years’ registration saw a 3 per cent rise and now stands at £35,000.
  • Average pay for Partners/Directors/Sole Principals has increased by 4 per cent, however, the earnings of Salaried Partners & Directors has failed to increase this year.
  • The average Architectural Assistants’ (Part 1) salary rose by 3 per cent although Architectural Assistants’ (Part 2) salary is effectively unchanged.

The RIBA wishes to ensure that all staff in Chartered Practices are paid a reasonable salary and requires that all staff in RIBA Chartered Practices are remunerated at the level of the Living Wage as determined by the Living Wage Foundation. The Living Wage Foundation has recently updated its minimum hourly rates: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/

*Data from Chartered Practice as of 1st May 2022, so prior to the big inflation spike of later 2022/23

job alert sign up

Average salary of all staff in the architecture industry:

Salary all staff 2023

Average earnings of Partners/Directors/Sole Principals by region:

Average earnings by region

Average earnings of Architects (5+ years ARB registered) by region:

London practices continue to record the highest average salaries for Architects (5+ years ARB registered).

Average earnings of Architects by region

Average salaries of senior staff split by practice size:

Senior staff salary

Average salaries of Associates and Architects 5+ ARB split by practice size:

associates salary 2023

Average salaries of Assistants Part 2 and Assistants Part 1 split by practice size:

salary assistant

Average salaries of office management/support and admin by practice size:

Average salaries of office management

Pay Gap*

The gender pay gap has been widening since 2020, when it stood at 13 per cent. Last year it was

15 per cent and it has now grown to 17 per cent. Female staff continue to be under-represented in the highest quartile of incomes and over-represented in the lowest.

The ethnicity pay gap between white staff and non-white staff of all other ethnicities has widened from 14 per cent in 2021 (the first year of this analysis) to 21 per cent this year. Non-white staff are under-represented in the highest quartile of incomes and over-represented in the lowest quartile.

* Note: Data on gender and ethnicity pay gaps relate only to larger practices that completed a separate spreadsheet. These are mainly, although not exclusively, practices with 100+ staff, self-selected.

Survey notes:

  1. Chartered Practices were asked to provide data on the ‘average’ salary paid to each type of staff. Respondents calculated the ‘average’ themselves; we asked that this should ideally be the median average.
  2. We asked for the basic salary, excluding overtime. This is the salary received by the employee before tax and National Insurance are deducted but excluding Employer’s National Insurance costs.
  3. Basic salary was the salary being paid on 1 May 2022. The salary included profit share, where given, and if included it was the average profit share across the year. Bonus payment are not included.
  4. Partners/Directors/Sole Principals are treated differently. Their salary is combined with Partners' share of profits and Directors' dividends.
  5. All salaries have been converted by respondents to full-time equivalent. Salaries, dividends or profits shares and fringe benefits for Partners/Directors/Sole Principals are an approximation of the totals paid in the 12 months to 1 May 2022.
  6. Average earnings are reported here as 'median' averages, as distinct from 'mean' averages. This follows the approach used in the RIBA/The Fees Bureau Architects' Earnings Survey - the median average is virtually unaffected by the presence of any unusually high or low values.

Excerpts taken from the RIBA Business Benchmarking 2022 Report, prepared for the RIBA by The Fees Bureau.

Please note, the figures quoted in this article are from data gathered for the calendar year ending 31 December 2022. They do not take inflation into consideration and should not be used directly to set salaries.

Practices must ensure that at least The Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation is paid for all roles, including those of apprentices and architectural students.