COMP NEWS – The American Institute of Architects released a new compensation report, showing a mixed bag of changes in the architectural field over the last year.

Overall, the compensation for architectural staff has remained fairly consistent. However, the industry has lost a wide swath of positions, nearly 16,000 just between February and July 2020. In addition, average compensation is still increasing but has slowed down considerably compared to past years.

Using data for 44 firm positions in 31 states, 33 metro areas, and 18 cities, the report’s authors discovered that American architecture firms had lost around 16,000 positions between February and July 2020 alone, reflecting 8 percent of all payroll positions during that period. “At firms with fewer than 50 employees,” the report states, “benefits as a share of base pay declined to 14.4 percent on average in 2020, after averaging just over 18 percent nationally two decades ago.” 


While the number of positions held fell dramatically over the last two years, the report observed that compensation for architectural staff at domestic firms changed very little. The average compensation has increased 0.3 percent per year since 2019, significantly less than the 2.4 percent increase seen on average across all professions in that same time period. And while the average salary for recent architecture graduates remained under $56,000, starting compensation varies more widely across the country than it had in the past, now ranging from $48,000 to $69,000.

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