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How the Build Back Better Act could affect freelancers

Freelancers and Independent Contractors Beware: Build Back Better Vows to Impose the PRO Act Which Threatens Your Livelihood

The freedom to work as a freelancer or independent contractor provides flexibility for households and vibrancy to the American economy. It is tailor-made for architecture and design practices and the freelance architects seeking to fill the peaks and valleys standard in architecture practices.

The PRO Act bans Right to Work laws nationwide. Still, it also imposes the same independent contractor/freelancer-destroying policies of California’s AB5 law, which has destroyed countless lives and driven people out of the Golden State.

Freelancers and independent contractors want to be their bosses. AB5 and the PRO Act dictate they must have a boss. Households need greater flexibility than ever after the changes brought about by COVID in the workplace.

I have been fighting my whole professional career for the right to freelance and become an independent contractor. We need to rally the political wing of the AIA.org and ask their Advocacy group to engage and lobby against this provision of the Build Back Better bill.

Act Now Contact Sarah Dodge, AIA, Senior Vice-President of Advocacy & Relationships, and ask her to put the full force of the AIA’s advocacy group behind removing the AB5 provision out of Build Back Better!

[email protected]

Partial hat tip to the Freelancers Union

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Architects: Have you been laid-off or furloughed?

Looking for your next opportunity?

Every day our firm has been fielding calls and emails about whether or not architecture firms will be re-hiring out-of-work employees after the COVID-19 Pandemic. The honest answer is: right now, nobody knows. What we do know is that when the opportunities come back to the market, you should be ready to strike. That’s why we are placing a high priority on building our database of candidates, so we can move quickly to find you a new position if your current firm – through no fault of their own — is having difficulties. Never in our history has there been a pandemic like this that has shut down the economy to such an extent. And it’s disproportionately affecting the construction sector and related businesses.

At CFA we’ve been helping architects make their next career move since 1984. Contact us in confidence for an interview, portfolio review, resume suggestions, and a discussion about your long-term career goals

COVID-19 Update | 3 Comments

Collecting unemployment in New York for the Self-Employed

Self-employed workers and independent contractors now qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

On Monday, Cuomo announced the state would be partnering with Google to create a new website that would help streamline the application process for those still seeking to file a claim.

The website was expected to launch last night, but instead, it launched Friday morning at 7:30.

It can be accessed by going to unemployment.labor.ny.gov.

To sign in, you will need to enter your ny.gov ID information or create a new account.

From there, users will be asked to fill out an application and submit any required documents through a secure online portal.

If you have problems with your current account or issues with creating one, you can call 800-833-3000 for assistance.

Anyone who partially completes their application will be contacted by a service representative within 72 hours.

How does the callback system work?

After applying, a state representative will reach out within 72 hours to complete your claim.

Those who have filed a claim and were told to call the unemployment hotline to complete their application should stop calling and wait to be contacted, according to the Department of Labor.

“Anyone who was already in the process of filing an application, whether by phone or online and was told to call back to complete their claim will not have to call back,” Deanna Cohen, a spokeswoman for the department, said in an email Friday.

A total of 810,000 have filed an unemployment claim as of Thursday, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, said.

Around 600,000 of those claims have been fully completed and another 200,000 are in partial status.

The state is in the process of completing those claims.

A total of 6,000 people have been contacted under the new call system as of Friday morning, DeRosa said.

I’ve applied using the old site. Should I do so again?

No.

Claims filed using the old website are still being processed and anyone who was told to call the state’s unemployment hotline to complete their application should stop calling.

A representative from the Department of labor will instead contact you within 72 hours.

What’s the best way to apply?

The state is urging all those looking to apply for benefits do so online and wait to be contacted by a representative.

But calls are still be accepted through the state’s unemployment hotline at 888-209-8124.

To better process claims by phone, the state has started fielding calls seven days a week and has implemented a filing system by the last name.

Hours for the call center are Monday thru Friday: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The filing system by the last name goes as:

A-F: Monday.

G-N: Tuesday.

M-Z: Wednesday.

What do I qualify for?

A number of unemployment benefits have been extended to those who normally would not qualify as a result of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress last month.

New York provides up to $504 a week for unemployment, based on a person’s salary.

Self-employed workers and independent contracts now qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

But individuals cannot apply for PUA until it is determined they do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

That requires an extra step.

First, a person must file a regular unemployment claim through the state’s Department of Labor.

Once it’s determined they do not qualify, they can then apply for PUA through the state.

To apply, visit unemployment.labor.ny.gov.

What else do I get under the CARES Act?

Those who qualify for unemployment benefits will also receive an additional $600 a week from the federal government through July 31.

In addition, the federal government is in the process of sending out a one-time stimulus check to nearly all Americans. Most individuals

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The architecture industry is getting slammed by COVID-19

Uncertainty looms amid work freezes, layoffs, and diminishing revenue.

[Source Image: urfinguss/iStock]

Nearly every industry is getting pummeled by the spread of COVID-19, and architecture is no exception. In late March, the American Institute of Architects conducted a survey of 387 architecture firm leaders, and the results suggest a deeply uncertain future for the profession. Two-thirds of the firms that responded said projects had either stopped or slowed down as a result of COVID-19, and a whopping 94% said they anticipate revenue to dip. Respondents expected their losses to only deepen in April. 

The damage will be far-reaching, impacting individual practitioners, firms, and the profession at large. Firms are already furloughing workers and slashing pay. Foster + Partners, one of the most prominent architecture firms in the world, announced that its 1,400 workers would take a 20% paycut for three months. In New York, architects working on public projects have been ordered to suspend their design work indefinitely. “Many architecture firms are small businesses,” Dan Hart, AIA’s at-large director, points out. Small businesses have been especially hard hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19. 

Firms with public projects underway in international locations are potentially the most at risk, as 47% of them have instituted a no-travel policy indefinitely, according to the survey, making it difficult to visit sites and maintain construction schedules. Firms that focus on residential architecture may be in even hotter water; the survey suggests they have gotten far fewer inquiries for new design contracts. 

Twenty-five percent of the firms that responded expect a 15% loss in revenue this month, and that number may only increase as stay-at-home orders continue. If other creative fields are any indication, layoffs could accelerate. “The length, intensity, and uncertainty of this crisis will impact both the funding of and the opportunity for construction,” Hart says. “Gainful employment for architects is positively affected by shortening the impact of the crisis, flattening the infection curves, and introducing more certainty in containing the spread of the virus.”

So what’s to be done? In the short term, firms can take a few measures to offset the magnitude of their losses. Aside from applying for emergency loans through the government’s Payment Protection Program to pay for salaries, insurance, rent, and other operating costs, small firms (less than 500 people on staff) are eligible for loan forgiveness and businesses that are forced to shut down completely can get a payroll tax credit.

Looking ahead, AIA CEO Robert Ivy says it’s critical for the government to put more provisions in place to protect architecture and construction jobs—not just for the industry, but for society at large. “To jump-start the economy and bring architects and the critical design and construction economy back to life, we are strongly advocating for ‘vertical’ infrastructure, buildings, to be included in any additional stimulus bill,’” he writes in an email. “The nation needs housing, healthcare, and health-related research facilities (a clear need at this time), and schools. Architecture can and should create facilities that allow us to grow and heal, stimulating the larger economy while creating safer, more healthful places.”

Article first appeared in Fast Company

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We are in this together and we will come out of it stronger than before. – David McFadden

Contact us for career counsilling and job opportunities at [email protected] 

#employment #reccession #architecturejobs #architects #covid19 #coronavirus #aia

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support: Architects, Employees, and Self-employed

STATE AND FEDERAL AID PROGRAMS.

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order that we must work from home and its unintended consequences, we have organized State and Federal relief announcements relative to self-employed consultants and small businesses. These programs change frequently.

Student Loan Forgiveness.

Student loan borrowers will suspend their federal student loan payments without penalty and accruing interest for at least 60 days, the Department of Education said Friday. The Federal Government announced they would waive student loan interest amid the coronavirus crisis — but borrowers were awaiting details on how it would work and how long it would last. The Department of Education’s announcement Friday clarifies the policy change. For now, borrowers will put off two monthly loan payments. The Department will wave interest will for 60 days, starting retroactively on March 13.

Mortgages.

Homeowners who have lost income or their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are getting some relief. Depending on their situation, they should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months. Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy. Under the plan, people who have suffered a loss of income can qualify to make reduced payments or be granted a full pause in payments.

Unemployment Insurance.

With the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP), you can collect the Unemployment Insurance benefits you need to pay your bills while you work on that dream! You can work fulltime in your new business while receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. You don’t have to look for jobs while you work on your business. Money earned from your business is not deducted from your Unemployment Insurance benefits. You stay on track for success with training and counseling. You get opportunities to build a network of support to launch your business. You must receive a written acceptance into the SEAP before you can start your own business while collecting benefits.

Utilities.

New Jersey and New York utilities will keep the power, heat, and water on for all customers in response to the coronavirus emergency, both states announced Friday. Major utilities have agreed to suspend utility shut-offs, a particular concern for people who may be out of work and cannot afford to pay their bills. “No utility can turn off service … if a person cannot pay their bill because of responding to this virus situation.

Evictions.

The government is expecting landlords and tenants to work together to establish affordable repayment plans, taking into consideration tenants’ circumstances at the end of the period. Under urgent new laws, landlords cannot start proceedings to evict tenants for at least three months, because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

SBA Loans for Payroll.

Small business owners in the following designated states are eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): New York Click here to apply. Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at SBA.gov/Disaster. The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Guidance for Businesses and Employers. The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America – 15 Days to Slow the Spread.

IRS.

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Following the President’s emergency declaration under the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.  The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.  This guidance does not change the April 15 filing deadline.

“Americans should file their tax returns by April 15 because many will receive a refund.  Those filing will take advantage of their refunds sooner,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This deferment allows those who owe a payment to the IRS to defer the payment until July 15 without interest or penalties.  Treasury and IRS ensure that hardworking Americans and businesses have additional liquidity for the next several months.”    

Today’s guidance will cause about $300 billion of additional liquidity in the economy in the near term.  Treasury and IRS will issue additional guidance as needed and continue working with Congress, bipartisan, on legislation to provide further relief to the American people.

 Paid Sick Leave.

Small business owners in the following designated states are eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19): Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. Click here to apply.

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Feeling Glum in Your Architect or Design Job?

Here’s How to Beat the Blues, Stop Working Overtime, and Earn a Decent Salary

An architect job can take a lot out of us when we aren’t earning what we want. 

Most architects would agree, the hours are long and sometimes the compensation doesn’t meet par. That doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to get more from our architect career. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the architect salary for 2019 averaged around $79,380 per year and pays approximately $38.16 per hour. While the highest-paid architect might make much more per year than the average, most architects may feel pressured to reach this standard within their current job. 

There are several reasons we may miss the mark. Before we go further into it, let’s take a look at why an architect job can become so demanding.  

Why Do Architect Jobs Require So Much Time? 

Since much of their time is spent working long hours on a high-priority project for their employer, architects’ schedules become arduous and taxing.  

Architects can quickly become absorbed into their work and lose track of how many hours they’re putting in. If we have a time-sensitive project, our employer often won’t compensate us for off-the-clock hours we put in. On top of it all, we’re still managing other duties. 

An architect job isn’t just a job, it’s a big responsibility to commit to our employer’s demands. The trick to staying on top of it all comes with experience and managing our time on the job.  

3 Ways an Architect Can Improve Overtime Schedules

Before we can focus on our time management, we need to consider what responsibilities we’re juggling at once and reorganize everything accordingly. Here are some steps we can take to increase our architect salary per hour.  

1. Make To-Do Lists Each Day

If we know we have a tight ship for the day, we’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed trying to remember everything. A great way to cope with days like this is to write a list of tasks that need to be done and set out to complete each one in order. 

Don’t skip steps on the list unless it’s necessary. Just focus on the single task at hand and the work will get done without spending too much time fixing errors. 

2. Tackle Less Essential Tasks Later

When an architect job or task doesn’t require our immediate attention, we can usually put it off for another day. However, if we put it off for too long, it will eventually mess with the future tasks our employer gives us. 

That’s why we should focus mainly on the large tasks when we’re on the clock and finish up the simple tasks once we have free time. Our employer will be more than glad to accommodate a higher salary for us if we finish the high-priority tasks on time.  

3. Allow Time to Recharge 

Some days we need to recharge so we can continue to present our best work to our employer. It’s normal to become overwhelmed in the middle of a large project or when we need to fix our mistakes. 

Identifying our limits and knowing when to breathe can make a massive difference in the outcome of a project. Don’t be afraid to ask for time off if you notice that your job performance is lacking. 

Let Us Help You Achieve a Higher Architect Pay Scale 

Managing an architect job isn’t simple. We know what it’s like to be under pressure to complete our best work and perfect the finer details. Allow our dedicated staffing team to assist you with time management issues so you can enjoy your career to the fullest. 

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Archinect’s Guide to Job Titles: Studio Director

In our third installment of Archinect’s Guide to Job Titles series, we attempt to tackle the nuanced role of the Studio Director without falling back on search engines like Google and Bing or job boards like Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, or Ladders [not in original article]. As with most positions within architecture firms, the lines are quite blurry when it comes to the role of Studio Director. For some, this leadership position acts as a kind of operations specialist and strategist while also functioning as a firmwide design leader. For others, the Studio Director might function as a buffer between design teams and the higher-level leadership of an organization. And for others still, this individual might run their studio as a kind of “mini-firm” within a larger firm, responsible for their own business development, hiring, project management, and overall growth. The intricacies and variations associated with such a dynamic posting can’t be explained exhaustively, there will always be some deviation. Nevertheless, what follows is our attempt to capture the inherent essence of this career path in architecture.

Structural Relevance

Architecture firms come in many forms. Depending on size, the internal structure of the personnel will differ. Some firms might operate in a departmental structure, where each team works on a specific phase of a project: a design “department” might work on the programming and schematic phases before passing the work on to a technical department that would realize the construction documentation. Others might have various project teams, each with its own project managers who are overseen by a Studio Director or Principal(s). And others still might divide into multiple studios, each with a specific function, and led by their own Studio Director, respectively. In this structure, each Studio Director would report to a Managing Principal, Design Principal, or both. Some Studio Directors may even be partners of the firm or Principals themselves. When it comes to the possible organizational structures of design firms, the variations are many.

While the interpretation of the role will differ from office to office, a Studio Director will typically oversee a studio. This may be a single studio under one roof, with a small or medium-sized staff, separated into smaller teams, each with a project architect/project manager, a job captain, and designers. Each team leader could report to a Studio Director who then might report to or collaborate with a higher-level leadership team, such as a firm’s Principal(s).

A studio could also be one of many within a larger firm, each with an expertise focus such as hospitality, healthcare, sports, workplace, restoration, or interiors. Each Studio Director would have specialized knowledge and experience in their area of expertise. In this model, studios might operate under the umbrella of a larger firm but would function as its own “sub-firm,” having its own clients, staff, and sometimes even its own receptionist. These “studio structures” can vary widely, and the nuances will depend on the organization in question.

A Studio Director Needs to be a People Person

In Archinect’s Growing Leadership and Practice: Laney LA’s Search for a Studio Director, we dove deep into conversation with Anthony Laney of Laney LA about his search for a Studio Director. “On day one, five project managers, each with their own team of one to two aspiring architects, will report to the Studio Director,” Laney told Archinect. “So, in total, the Studio Director will be leading a team of about 14 people. Right now, I’m giving about 30 percent of my time to a Studio Director role. We want to tear the lid off of that and allow someone to give it 100 percent of their time.” Here we have the leader of a relatively medium-sized firm in need of a Studio Director to act as a point person between him and his project managers. Laney saw this as someone who was not only in love with design, but who also had a deep passion for creating and building a great team.

People skills are 80 percent of the job, probably more…

Archinect also spoke with Lindsay Green, Principal and Studio Director at OFFICEUNTITLED, and Shawn Gehle, Principal and Co-Founder. On the topic of managing a team and dealing with different kinds of people, the pair elaborated further. “People skills are 80 percent of the job, probably more,” they said. “You have to deal with multiple personalities every day. Happy people; sad people; staff; clients; personal issues amongst the team.” They went on to articulate the expansive role a Studio Director might have within an office. In addition to effectively managing people, a leader in this role might also take on responsibilities of reviewing the office’s backlog and ensuring future staffing needs are fulfilled, overall professional development and client management, internal development of team members, human resources, and finance. “We really rely on Lindsay to run this office, we look to her to understand our overall health and outlook,” Gehle said of Green. “She acts as a kind of Chief Operations Officer, shepherding the resources within the office.”

A Strong Business Acumen

Green’s role goes far beyond that of the traditional project manager or project architect, but rises further into rigorous strategic planning and execution, calling for business acumen and facility not typical in architects. “I think if someone is considering this role as something to work towards in their career, they should consider getting an MBA. Understanding business is crucial in this position,” Green elaborated. “And even after that, it’ll take on-the-job experience to establish an understanding of how firms operate.” 

Where before one’s core preoccupation might have been client satisfaction, design quality, timely deliverables, and internal team health, the focus now expands to a broader higher level concentration dealing with the business, strategic, and developmental aspects of the organization as a whole. Yes, project teams are concerned with these aspects, but on a fundamentally different level. They have a responsibility for their projects, whereas a Studio Director’s daily duties directly deal with the trajectory and direction of the bigger picture, moving beyond a partial focus to a comprehensive one.

What are firms looking for?

So what are firms looking for in a Studio Director? Take Gensler, a corporation based around a “collaborative studio leadership model.” Each studio has a specialty and is led by a highly experienced Studio Director, who oversees everything from overall management of the team and projects to the finances and budget. They work closely with staff in both professional development and mentorship as well as hiring in collaboration with HR. Studio Directors at Gensler are responsible for marketing, developing new business, and responding to RFPs, along with several other high-level responsibilities. According to Gensler, those pursuing this role should have a minimum of 15 years of experience and have a proven record in their area of focus. Moreover, Studio Directors at Gensler should possess a comprehensive personal portfolio of work, illustrating their aptitude and understanding of their expertise. Essentially, Studio Directors are leaders of their own small firm within the larger organization that is Gensler.

A Multi-Disciplined Leader

In the end, Studio Directors are multi-disciplined leaders with a depth of experience that allows them to lead a team of professionals of varying experience levels. They operate on multiple fronts, some of which include business functions such as staff development, hiring, strategic planning, finances, as well as traditional functions like QAQC, guiding design quality, and managing clients and projects. The possibilities appear broad and wide-ranging, but we’ve learned that business acumen is crucial, people skills are essential, and a deep understanding of the traditional functions of the architect, indispensable.

Author – Sean Joyner is an architect-trained writer and editor at Archinect. His articles and essays utilize themes in history, philosophy, and psychology to explore lessons for students and professionals within the fields of architecture and design. Sean’s work prior to Archinect focused primarily on k-12 and higher education projects in Southern California. Some of the things Sean enjoys are playing and practicing chess, studying obscure topics like quantum physics and cryptography, working out, and reading compelling books.

Sean Joyner’s Blog on Archinect
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Too Many Options? How to Decide Between Multiple Architect Positions the Professional Way

Whether you are in architecture or another industry, workers today are finding advantages to switching jobs periodically rather than remaining with the same company over a lifetime. From bigger paychecks to higher positions, the benefits of mobility cannot be understated. However, the way you move from one job to another speaks volumes about your professionalism as well as your capacity for working well with others. Consider these five tips to help you change architect positions without burning bridges.

The Time Factor

Giving notice is usually the first step toward moving up and on. However, how you handle your notice will make a significant impact on how your current employer views you once you are gone. While two weeks is the general rule for resignations, you may need to give time depending on your specific situation. The primary goal is to make the transition from you to your replacement as smooth as possible without sticking around long enough to make people feel awkward. When deviating from the two-week guideline, it is not usually advisable to change that by more than a week either way.

It’s Not What You Know

You know the adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Every architect position you hold gives you the opportunity to build your professional network. You likely have some potentially valuable connections at your current company, which may prove beneficial in the future. Take the time to nurture those relationships before and after you switch companies and be sure to keep your contact information current in case previous contacts need to be in touch with you.

You Can’t Take it With You

Some things you should leave behind when you leave your position, such as company data, clients and fellow employees. Soliciting clients or employees is not an admirable practice and may be a violation of your contract. Take steps to separate your personal information from the company data file to avoid any suspicion of impropriety as you move to your next architect position. An attitude of transparency will make the difference in leaving your current employer on good terms.

Tie Up Loose Ends

At the same time, you also want to make sure you don’t leave any loose ends as you walk out the door. Personal belongings should be taken home with you as soon as you give notice. CNBC recommends you transfer benefits like your 401k as well. You also want to arrange to extend your healthcare benefits if your insurance coverage at your new company does not become effective right away.

Interview at the End Like You Did at the Beginning

Many companies have an exit interview at the end of an employee’s tenure. While this might seem like a tempting time to raise concerns or voice complaints, it is always best to keep this meeting just as professional and positive as your first interview was with the company. If you do have issues to bring up, do so in a positive way – in the interest of creating a better environment for your replacement and others.

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The Female Architects—Surviving the Journey to the Top

Female Architects by the Number

Winner of the Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award 2014, Julia King talks about her work in both the UK and India

While women have forged a path in many male-dominated industries today, challenges still face female architects. As women are slowly moving into relevant positions and even leadership roles, there is still plenty of work to be done. Fortunately, awareness of inequality has been the first step in the creation of organizations and movements to support women passionate about the field. In addition, some outspoken architects are bringing the issue into focus, increasing awareness and encouraging women interested in studying architecture to pursue the profession as a legitimate career path.

While statistics offer hope that the presence of female architects are on the rise, the numbers also show there is more work to be done. According to a 2018 report in Artsy, women comprise approximately half of the students in architecture schools today. However, the numbers begin to decline dramatically as students move to the professional world, with women making up only 18% of licensed architects. Even more concerning is the fact that just three of the top 100 architecture firms are led by women.

When considering global numbers, the statistics start to lean more in the favor of women in the industry. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) estimated in 2016 that women made up more than one-third (36%) of all newly licensed architects. That number marks a small increase from 2015, when 34% of new licenses went to women.

Issues Facing Women in the Industry

One of the biggest concerns female architects have today is inequality when it comes to salary. A 2017 article in the journal Archipreneur found that men earning $100,000 or more outpace women earning the same amount by 7%. The difference exists even though more women than men have a four-year degree. At the lower end of the salary scale, nearly twice as many women as men earn less than $50,000.

The issues relating to salary inequalities was summed up in part by a 2018 article in the New York Times, titled, “Where are all the Female Architects?” The report noted that pipeline is not a problem as it is in other industries, since plenty of women are going to school to train for the profession. Instead, a generalized negative perception of women in the profession could be at the root of the difference. The New York Times reports that as recently as 2018, there were assumptions that women would quit if they got married or had children, or that they would not be able to lead with authority on job sites. Even their creativity has been questioned at times in this male-dominated industry.

Growing Support Network

Fortunately, more women are becoming known in the industry today, paving the way for other female architects to join the ranks. The New York Times also reports that more women are getting appointed as deans or directors at architecture programs at prestigious schools like Cornell, Columbia, Princeton, and Yale. Female architects at the top of companies are also gaining more recognition as trade journals and mainstream media are highlighting these women.

Industry organizations are also beginning to make a place for women – through conferences geared specifically to female architects or committees designed to bring women in the profession together. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is hosting its first Women’s Leadership Summit in September of this year, in an effort to bring together female architects and those that have achieved leadership roles within their organizations.

According to the AIA website, the goals of the Women’s Leadership Summit are:

  • Increase awareness of women in the industry
  • Create a learning environment by combining women at various stages of their careers
  • Help women discover paths to leadership roles
  • Provide the opportunity for women to learn from one another

In addition, the AIA New York features a Women in Architecture Committee to develop and promote women in the industry through monthly meetings and other events. The local committee focuses on licensure, mentorship and networking opportunities to help women take their careers in architecture to the next level.

Pioneers Taking the “Female” Out of the Position

As more women take the stage in the architectural industry, women following in their footsteps can find both inspiration and knowledge to succeed in their careers. Dorte Mandrup, a Danish architect who is also the creative director and founder at Dorte Mandrup, published an article in 2017, which appeared in Politiken and Dezeen.

In the article, Mandrup makes the point that she does not want to be referred to as a “female architect.” Instead, she wants to be known as an architect – one whose work can compare with the creativity of any male without having the additional label attached. She believes that until women stop getting referred to as “female architects,” true equality within the industry cannot happen.

Liz Ogbu trained as an architect at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. However, she referred to herself in the New York Times article as a “designer, social innovator, and urbanist.” Her point was that women can make a name for themselves in the world of architecture to redefine success within the industry. Instead of focusing solely on skyscrapers and museums, Ogbu is focusing on designs for the underprivileged such as shelters for immigrant day workers.

“In many ways, architecture is a profession that has been the epitome of the dominant white patriarchy, from most of the celebrated starchitects to the all too frequent obsession with buildings that are better known for their beauty of the object rather than the quality of the life that they enable…I’ve been committed to a design practice that is rooted in elevating the stories of those who have most often been neglected or silenced.”

Whether you are looking for your very first position in the industry or ready to take your career to the next level, we can help. We help architects, interior designers and others in the building design profession find the job of their dreams. Contact CFA today to learn more.

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The 3 Best Cities for Architecture Careers

Successful architecture careers don’t happen by accident. Just like well-designed buildings, they’re the result of careful planning.

While there are countless metrics you can consider when going about this planning, one of the most important is the city within which you’ll work.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the three best cities in the country for professionals who are serious about pursuing successful architecture careers.

We based this list on the all-important factor of salary but also on other unique traits worth considering.

1. Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia is one of the best states for architects, so it should come as no surprise that many point to its capital as the best city for this profession.

Even though Atlanta is home to countless high-paying careers, architects are among the top 50 best-paid. Architectural managers even crack the top 20, alongside lawyers, several doctors, and even physicists.

Of course, Atlanta also has an impressive history of hosting incredible buildings from a number of different styles, so you won’t be lacking for inspiration. That said, you won’t be lacking for competition, either. Atlanta is home to a few award-winning architects, though that also means plenty of impressive firms looking for new talent.

2. West Palm Beach, Florida

Located about an hour-and-a-half north of Miami, West Palm Beach has plenty going for it aside from the incredible weather. On average, the highest-paid architects in the country call West Palm Beach home. That average salary is an impressive $120,380 a year. Florida does not have a State income tax either.

The city is also full of architecture firms – well over three dozen of them – so you shouldn’t have too much trouble beginning your job search.

Many world-class architects choose West Palm Beach for their headquarters because there is no lack of developers with large budgets who appreciate beautiful designs.

The city also attracts talent from across the world for the same reason. As just one example, look no further than the $100-million expansion of the Norton Museum, which was designed by Norman Foster, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.  

3. Chicago, Illinois

For our third spot on the list, we head north to the Windy City. Chicago’s history as a city of architectural wonders probably began in 1893 during the World’s Fair. It debuted the first ever Ferris Wheel but also brought in some of the time’s most prominent architects to contribute their talents.

Though only one major structure survived, Chicago’s tradition of welcoming incredible architects has carried on. Over the years, famous architects like William Le Baron Jenney and Frank Lloyd Wright have all left their mark on Chicago.

Modern architects looking to do the same won’t be disappointed. While the pay isn’t as much here, the cost of living is also much lower, meaning your salary will stretch a lot further.

Work with Experts Who Specialize in Launching Architecture Careers

Want more help getting your career off the ground?

At Consulting For Architects, we specialize in both project placement and permanent placement for professionals who are dedicated to pursuing successful architecture careers. If you’d like the help of an experienced team of experts, please feel free to contact us today.

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