RIBA survey reveals that half of all small architects practices are “under-employed”

Almost half of the UK’s small architecture practices and sole practitioners considered themselves to be “under-employed” over the last month, according to a new survey by the RIBA.

A total of 47% of smaller firms – those with 11 employees or fewer – agreed they had been under-employed, compared to 17% of larger practices.

As a result, almost one in four architects surveyed (24%) predicted that their staff levels would decrease in the next three months, while 72% said they would remain the same.

The figures emerged from the RIBA Futures survey, which aims to monitor and predict employment trends in the architecture sector. The architects’ trade body plans to track workload confidence and staffing levels with results released on a monthly basis.

The survey also found that more than a third of UK architects (39%) were preparing for a decrease in workload, but that over half (51%) expected their workloads to stay the same until March.

The survey found that architects still have confidence in the public sector, with over a quarter (27%) predicting an increase in public spending in the next three months, and 60% saying it would remain constant.

Adrian Dobson, the RIBA’s director of practice, said: “Architects are now very cautious about future workloads and are re-structuring their practices in the light of economic developments. Practices are taking a realistic view and taking action now to ensure the viability of their businesses.”