It’s no longer so bleak. For all the dispiriting data in the 2013 AIA Compensation Report, there are plenty of reassuring numbers, too. Although overall architecture salaries barely inched up since the last AIA report, in 2011, and salaries for most positions again failed to keep up with the pace of inflation, senior design and project management staff enjoyed a nice bump in compensation. Moreover, 20 percent of firms reported that they do not hire employees without a professional degree in architecture, up from 15 percent in the 2011 report—a sign that after the spate of recessionary layoffs, firms are now tapping into a pool of qualified candidates when they are hiring. The rate of voluntary turnover also picked up, especially at large firms, a reflection of how business conditions have stabilized. To see how your salary stacks up to the report average, see the charts below.
Note: New England: CT, MA; Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA; East North Central: IL, MI, OH, WI; West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO; South Atlantic: DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, VA; East South Central: TN; West SouthCentral: LA, TX; Mountain: AZ, CO, MT; Pacific: CA, HI, OR, WA
Note: Architecture positions covered include project design and project management staff, architect and design staff, and interns
Note: Compensation for all private workers and professional and related staff includes wages and salaries and incentive pay but not overtime and bonuses. The scale is based on figures from the first quarter of 2002. Data is from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Cost Index and the AIA.
Note: Inflation measured as annual change in the Consumer Price Index.
•Positions in Senior Design/Project Management Staff category include director of design, director of operations, senior project designer, project designer, senior project manager, and project manager.
•Positions in the Architects/Designers category include architect 1,2, and 3 and unlicensed architecture/design staff 1,2, and 3.
•Positions in the Interns category include intern 1,2, and 3.
Methodology and Definitions
The AIA Compensation Survey was last published by the AIA in 2011, and before that it was published in three-year increments. The survey was administered by Readex Research of Stillwater, Minn. The AIA sent survey invitations to 10,059 architecture firms. Of those, 1,023 submitted valid surveys by the Feb. 25, 2013, deadline.
The data was screened, with the top and bottom 1 percent trimmed to enhance reliability.
The following definitions were used for architecture positions:
Architect 3: Ten or more years of experience; licensed architect who plans medium- and large-scale projects and may oversee a staff of designers.
Architect 2: Eight or more years of experience; licensed architect with responsibility for finished plans who may oversee a small staff of designers.
Architect 1: Five or more years experience; licensed architect who exercises independent judgment on projects but receives guidance on complex ones.
Intern 3: Full-time intern on the path to licensure with three to six years experience; responsible for technical design on projects.
Intern 2: Full-time intern on the path to licensure with two or three years of experience; works from the designs of others and under supervision.
Intern 1: Full-time, entry-level intern on the path to licensure.
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