Tag archives for: AIA Billing Index
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
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
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
“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.
Women in Architecture
aia awards, AIA Billing Index, aia firm survey, archipreneur, architecture, Architecture billings index, architecture careers, architecture programs, Compensation, cornell, David McFadden, deans, dorte mandrup, equal pay, femail architects, google blogs, harvard, ilookup, Job Search, julia king, leadership roles, learning environment, liz ogbu, maledominatedindustry, meninarchitecture, metorship, princeton, promote women, salary ineqquality, starchatect, trade jourmals, winneremergingwomanarchitect, women, women in architecture, Women in Architecture Committee, Women's Month, womensleadershipsummit, yale
October ABI up 2.5 pts to 49.4
* New projects index up 3 pts to 57.3
* AIA says demand for architects’ services volatile
* New projects index up 3 pts to 57.3
* AIA says demand for architects’ services volatile
A leading indicator of U.S. construction activity rebounded in October, the AIA said on Wednesday.
The architecture billings index rose 2.5 points last month to 49.4, according the American Institute of Architects. Any reading below 50 indicates an overall decrease in demand for design services, a predictor of construction spending nine to 12 months in the future.
A separate index of inquiries for future projects rose 3 points to 57.3. That measure is more often above 50 as clients reach out to multiple architecture firms.
October’s rebound was encouraging, but demand for designs remains volatile, the group said. Conditions in various regions range from improving to poor and are likely to continue that way in coming months, the AIA said.
Conditions are strongest in the U.S. Northeast and weakest in the West.
A depressed construction market has been a headwind for manufacturers of construction machinery and components that make up buildings’ infrastructure, such as electrical, cooling and security systems.
Analysts who cover industrial stocks have called the billings index as important an economic indicator as the monthly industrial data from the Institute for Supply Management.
Most diversified industrial companies get at least some revenue from the nonresidential construction sector, which includes office buildings, retail and warehouse space, and institutional buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Companies exposed to the sector include Honeywell International Inc , Tyco International Ltd , Ingersoll Rand , Eaton Corp , Caterpillar Inc , Deere & Co and Terex Corp .
European companies such as Siemens AG , Schneider Electric SA and lock maker Assa Abloy are also significant players in the sector.
Scan with your Smartphone to “Like” CFA on Facebook!
aia, architects, architecture, architecture jobs, construction, Hiring trends, jobs, recession, starting a business, Uncategorized, unemployed architects
AIA Billing Index
Recession’s toll likely to keep many from returning to the profession, says AIA’s Work-on-the-Boards panel
By Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA
AIA Chief Economist
After an encouraging uptick in August, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) retreated again in September, falling to a score of 46.9. Since any score below 50 indicates a decline in billings at architecture firms, this was the fifth of the past six months in which business conditions have deteriorated. Additionally, backlogs at architecture firms—the amount of project activity in-house at present—dropped to 4.2 months on average in the third quarter, meaning that firms could keep current staff employed for 4.2 months without any new projects. This rate is down from 4.4 months at the end of the second quarter. Lower levels of project backlogs, coupled with less encouraging levels of new project inquiries in September, point to continued concern for architecture firms in the coming months.
Even with the national downturn in billings in September, some regions reported improvement. Regional billings scores are computed as rolling three-month moving averages, and recent numbers showed enough strength to boost scores for firms in the Northeast and Midwest into positive territory. Scores for firms in the South and West continued to show relatively steep declines.
Likewise, commercial/industrial firms reported reasonably healthy improvement in September, while residential firms and institutional firms were showing continued weakness. Commercial/industrial firms reported nine straight months of billings gains from mid-2010 through the first quarter of 2011, so there are grounds for optimism for firms in this sector.
Economy remains in slow gear
The broader economy continues to show only modest growth. Just over 100,000 jobs were added in September, bringing the total added for the first nine months of the year to just over one million. That is well below the number required to generate healthy growth in the economy, and, as such, the national unemployment rate is up from 9.0 percent in January to 9.1 percent in September. Construction employment saw an increase of 26,000 positions in September, the second strongest number of the year. However, only 53,000 positions in this sector have been added since the beginning of the year, or fewer than 6,000 per month. Architecture firms have added only 1,200 positions since January, to a current workforce of just over 153,000 in August, the most recent figures available.
Many economists feel that one of the key ingredients missing from the economy is greater confidence on the part of consumers and businesses. With a more positive outlook, consumers would start spending again, and businesses would begin adding employees and increasing their spending. But, unfortunately, business confidence has been falling recently. The third-quarter reading on the Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence was 42 (anything below 50 is considered negative), the lowest score since early 2009, down 25 points since the first quarter of the year.
Consumer optimism has not fared much better. Consumer sentiment has fallen in four out of the past five months, according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index. With a preliminary October reading of 57.5 (on an index where Q1 1966 is set at 100), it’s down almost 17 points from its 74.2 reading in January. In spite of consumer concern over the economy, consumer spending is holding up quite well. In September, retail sales increased almost 9 percent over levels of a year ago, and average monthly gains in 2011 over levels from a year ago have been averaging about 8 percent. By comparison, there had been a 6.5 percent increase in retail sales in 2010, and a 7.2 percent decline in 2009.
Permanent losses to the profession
Employment at U.S.architecture firms peaked during the summer of 2008, and exhibited steady declines for the next two years. For the past 12–15 months, employment levels have been bouncing around this bottom rung. This prolonged downturn has meant that many architects who were downsized at the beginning of the economic crash have been waiting a very long time for a recovery. This month, participants in the AIA Work-on-the-Boards panel were asked to comment on the current status of these downsized architectural staff.
Many who lost positions have either returned to their original firms, gone to other firms, or started their own architectural practices. However, those not currently working full-time in the profession are in a diverse set of situations. According to these estimates, about 30 percent of previously full-time staff who lost their positions are still working in the architecture profession, but are underemployed and working on a part-time or contract basis. These are likely the first people who would return to full-time status once design activity shows a more significant rebound. Well over a third of downsized staff is currently out of the profession, but waiting for business to pick up to return to architecture positions. This includes about 18 percent working in other jobs, but waiting for architecture positions to open up, and almost as many who are currently not working and waiting for architecture positions to open up.
However, this leaves a significant number of former employees who are not expected to return to the profession at all. About 9 percent are retired or not looking for work for other reasons. More than 12 percent are working in other jobs and are unlikely to return even when architecture positions open up. Nearly 6 percent are not currently working, but are unlikely to return to architecture even when the economy improves and positions open.
This month, Work-on-the-Boards participants are saying:
• We specialize in residential and have stayed in business doing multifamily, as the single-family residential market is dead. Firms that held on with government work are now slowing down significantly. —7-person firm in the West, residential specialization
• RFPs have dropped to first-quarter levels. Some projects already under contract have been slow to get the owner to agree to finalize and send out to bid. —4-person firm in the Northeast, mixed specialization
• Our office interiors and retail work for large corporate clients are strong, but government, education, etc., are very weak. —60-person firm in the South, commercial/industrial specialization
• Larger companies are going after local work instead of their typical national work, so smaller companies are having a struggle to get work. We typically have been doing 90 percent national work and 10 percent local. It is now 90 percent local and 10 percent national. —50-person firm in the Midwest, commercial/industrial specialization
To view Graphs and Tables click here.
About the AIA ArchitectureBillingsIndex
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics and Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine- to 12-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member–owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended, as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered near 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the white paper “Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending” on AIA.org.