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Survey: Architecture Shows Gender Pay Gap

Thursday, November 10, 2016

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The results of a recent survey suggest a gender pay gap exists in the field of architecture, but also reveals signs that diversity in the industry is on the rise.

The Equity by Design (EQxD) committee of the American Institute of Architects’ San Francisco chapter has released preliminary findings from its 2016 Equity in Architecture survey, which the committee touts as the largest and most comprehensive study to date dealing with talent retention in the field.

Divesrity in the pipeline graphic
Charts: Atelier Cho Thompson, courtesy AIA San Francisco

The survey shows that there are far more women early in their architecture careers than there are women with decades of experience—which could indicate increased diversity in the field in the future.

The committee presented the early results at its symposium, Equity by Design: Metrics, Meanings and Matrices, in San Francisco in late October. While the full survey report has not been published, the early findings have been posted on the committee’s website.

About the Survey

The survey, conducted via email and completed by 8,664 participants, took place between February and April 2016, and was a follow-up to the committee’s less comprehensive 2014 report on the same topic.

Respondents, according to the committee, were from all 50 states as well as nearly two dozen other countries. Slightly more than half the respondents were women, meaning that women were overrepresented in relation to their numbers in the field; the committee reportedly took that into consideration in reporting results.

Pay Gap

One key finding is that, among respondents, women make about 76 percent of what men do in terms of salary. The committee compared men and women with the same title, years of experience and firm size, and still found a considerable pay discrepancy.

Salary gap graphic

The committee compared men and women with the same title, years of experience and firm size, and still found a considerable pay discrepancy.

The average woman respondent made $71,319 last year, where the average man participating in the survey made $94,212. The survey results also indicate that women and men were about equally likely to have sought a salary increase via negotiation, but men were more likely to report success in doing so. (Women were more likely to report "partial success," however.)

In a survey section on work-life balance and flexibility, women reported more often that they felt they neglected duties or dealt with poor health related to work-life balance; men were more likely to report relationship problems, and both men and women reported schedule conflicts in about the same measure.

Diversity in the Pipeline

The survey also shows that there are far more women early in their architecture careers than there are women with decades of experience—which could indicate increased diversity in the field in the future. However, the results also indicate that women are more likely to leave the field earlier in their careers than men.

Negotiation success

The survey results indicate that women and men were about equally likely to have sought a salary increase via negotiation, but men were more likely to report success in doing so.

The survey also addresses firm principals, revealing that women are more likely than men to be principals of “extra-small” firms (of less than 20 employees), but men were more likely to be principals of “extra large” firms (more than 1,000). Categories in between saw largely similar rates of men and women principals.

Conclusions

The committee notes with the early findings that gaps exist in equity in the field of architecture, but that it's a more complicated situation than women simply getting paid less.

"While there were stark differences between men’s and women’s salaries, career advancement, and perspectives, gender wasn’t the driving predictor of success within the profession," the committee writes.

"Factors like transparency in the promotion process, having access to a senior leader in one’s firm, receiving ongoing feedback about one’s work, sharing values with one’s firm, and having meaningful relationships at work were much more strongly correlated with all of these measures of success. Male respondents were more likely to report having access to each of these ingredients for a satisfying career in architecture."

The full findings are expected to be published in early 2017, according to the committee.

   

Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architects; Architecture; Industry surveys; Labor; Personnel; Trends

Comment from Jesse Melton, (11/10/2016, 9:58 AM)

It's hard to find a better term than "promotion process" to highlight how screwed up we've let labor get. A predefined path is just terrible for employees and employers. It prevents employees from experimenting with novel or innovative ideas. It creates friction as the bottleneck created by all processes becomes a killing field where job competency is less important than ones ability and willingness to game the process at any cost to ensure ones own promotion. You don't have to be better, you just need your colleagues to be worse. Or at least appear to be. That's not a competitive workplace unless you're in the mob. Self promotion opens doors for everyone. Structured promotion closes the doors then sets the building on fire. Eventually you are left with a company full of dangerously self interested knobs that have no idea what their job is supposed to be.


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