Director Schumacher warns of ongoing “uncertainty” about post-Brexit recruitment arrangements for non-UK staff

Zaha Hadid Architects has posted a tenfold drop in pre-tax profit despite a 7.2% increase in revenue, its latest annual accounts reveal.

The practice said pre-tax profit in the year to 30 April 2022 was £917,947, down from £9.5m the previous year. But revenue increased from £63.5m to £68.1m over the same period.

Average headcount at the practice was 520 during the year, up from 440 in 2021. ZHA said an increase in the number of production staff was responsible for the growth. Its accounts said the cost of salaries increased from £27.5m in 2021 to £38.6m last year, exclusive of social security payments and pensions.

A regional breakdown of ZHA’s revenue showed work in Asia accounted for the vast majority of its turnover – £52.4m in 2022, up from £41m in 2021. Turnover from Europe, excluding the UK, dipped from £14.1m in 2021 to £9.4m. Middle East income also dropped from £5.9m to £3.5m. UK revenue increased from £539,619 to £641,069.

Practice director Patrik Schumacher said in an overview section of the accounts that the firm currently has 32 buildings in construction in 17 different countries.

Patrik Schumacher

Patrik Schumacher repeated warnings about the impact of Brexit on recruiting staff from the EU

But he cautioned that three years after the UK’s formal departure from the European Union, the impact of Brexit in relation to recruitment remains a significant risk for the business.

“There is considerable uncertainty on the post-Brexit visa arrangements for skilled persons moving to and working in the UK,” he said.

“We are monitoring developments in this area and its possible impact on our UK recruitment.”

He also described the level of competition for architectural contracts in the UK as “very challenging” but added that the firm’s global customer spread had “mitigated the effect on the group’s business”.

ZHA’s accounts showed that the business’ six directors took home a combined total of £6.2m in the year to 30 April, a 58% increase on the previous year.

The highest paid director – thought to be Schumacher – received £1.18m last year, down from £1.52m the previous year.

Yesterday, the country’s biggest practice, Foster & Partners, revealed that profit tumbled by 42% last year despite revenue at the practice increasing by a third.

It posted profit before tax of £21m in 2022, down from £36.2m in the previous year although revenue rose to £232.7m from £200.2m.