RIBA survey reveals fewer architects expect to cut staff than in February but warns of decline in work coming from abroad

A third of architects do not have enough work to keep them busy, according to the latest figures from the RIBA.

A similar figure - 31% - said they expected to cut staff in the next few months, with two-thirds saying staffing levels would remain constant. The figures are a slight improvement on the February survey, when 35% said they expected to cut staff, and just 62% said they could keep staff numbers at current levels.

The March survey of members is the third monthly Future Trends survey undertaken by the institute. In it, 32% said they were personally “under-employed”, up from 21% in January.

In general 44% said they expected workloads would continue to decline, compared to just 13% who said workloads would increase.

Adrian Dobson, director of practice said the Future Trends survey, also revealed a worrying decline in the proportion of work coming from projects based overseas, falling from 9% in January 2009 to 5% in March 2009, a decline which could threaten the capability of the UK architects' profession to play its part in this vital export sector.

He said: “Since the survey commenced there has been a steady increase in the number of individual respondents indicating that lack of work has lead to them personally being under-employed in the current month. Large practices are currently the most pessimistic, indicating that further staffing reductions are regrettably likely to occur in the large practice sector in the coming quarter.”