Nearly two years have passed since the grassroots organization The Missing 32 Percent Project (TM32PP) launched its inaugural Equity in Architecture survey, formalizing a movement to establish equitable practices in architecture firms in the United States. Now known as Equity by Design (EQxD), the AIA San Francisco (AIA SF) committee is launching its second Equity in Architecture survey on Feb. 29.

The 2014 survey successfully set the framework for identifying the issues and pinch points in an architect’s career that can stymie professional growth or discourage them from staying in the industry, and led to the establishment of the AIA National Commission on Equity in Architecture. But it was, by nature, a grassroots effort. Conducted online via Survey Monkey, the survey was open to the public so respondents' design backgrounds could vary widely. And because TM32PP, at the time, focused on the disparity between the number of female architecture graduates and the number of practitioners, women comprised two-thirds of respondents, significantly higher than the percentage of licensed architects who are women.

This year’s survey will be a more formalized endeavor that will focus on the “differential experiences of women and men as well as underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” according to AIA SF and EQxD’s press release. Prospective survey participants will be reached through a joint effort by industry associations, including: the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, which is serving as the project’s research partner; AIA; the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards; the National Architectural Accrediting Board; the American Institute of Architecture Students; and the National Organization of Minority Architects. As a result, the survey will only be accessible to designers via an email that will be sent in the outreach effort by a collaborating association.

EQxD hopes to garner 3,000 to 5,000 participants for the 15- to 20-minute survey. Similar to its predecessor, the 2016 survey aims to compare the career experiences and employment of architecture school graduates; identify career pinch points and their impact on professional development, advancement, and attrition; and ascertain the individual attitudes and behaviors as well as firm practices that contribute to positive and negative work experiences.

Equity by Design Architecture Salary
Atelier Cho Thompson / Courtesy Equity by Design The 2014 Equity in Architecture survey covered personal information, such as designer salaries.


The survey will kick off on Feb. 29 and close on April 1. Because of the sensitive and personal information it requests—which, based on the 2014 survey, will likely include firm benefits and employee salary—the research team will keep the responses anonymous, separating any names, usernames, and email addresses from the responses. Participants may volunteer to be contacted by the committee for follow-up questions.

EQxD expects to release preliminary survey results mid-summer, says chair Rosa Sheng, AIA. It will also present additional survey findings at an AIA SF symposium in October, she says. (Read about the 2014 symposium here.)

Designers planning to attend this year’s AIA National Convention, in Philadelphia, can learn more about equitable practices in architecture at the EQxD Hackathon on May 18, which builds on the momentum of last year’s popular event.

Note: The last day to take the 2016 Equity in Architecture survey has been updated to April 1.