Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

News, events, and conversations about architectural education in North America and beyond.

  • The Architecture Salary Poll, analyzed

    Is it bad news to work for a small firm? How much more do architecture firm workers earn if they have a license? How big is the salary gap between men and women?

    ACSA recently visualized nearly 5,000 responses from Archinect's Architecture Salary Poll through a searchable and browsable interactive that focuses on individuals' career stories. We now have three new pages taking a more analytical look at this data, answering questions like these in three areas: firms, job titles and licensure, and gender.

    A few highlights are below. If you want more, check out the full piece at ACSA's website.

    First, size matters. In the above chart, green indicates higher earnings and red indicates lower earnings; while bar length indicates average satisfaction. Clearly, larger firms tend to pay better. This is a trend also found by the AIA.

    The other most striking thing in this chart is firms with 2-5 people seem to have a hard time. Whereas sole practitioners have the highest satisfaction and larger firms earn more money, workers at firms with 2-5 people reported low satisfaction and low pay.

    Firm types also differ in terms of their employees. The median salary among the poll's respondents is highest in corporate and starchitect firms, but corporate firm employees reported over two years in experience more, making starchitect firm compensation seem more generous. 

    Despite this higher pay, starchitect firm employees reported the lowest average satisfaction. In contrast, boutique firm employees reported the highest satisfaction.

    Licensed architects generally earn more than their unlicensed colleagues. The salary gap starts small--$2,000 at 3 years of experience--but grows over time. This finding is consistent with data from DesignIntelligence, who found that 70% of firms offer increased compensation upon licensure. They found that most firms--35% in total--offer a base compensation increase of 5 to 9%, while 21% of firms offer smaller increases, 12% of firms offer larger ones, and a few offer a lump sum bonus. 

    Given that women are likely to have fewer years of experience than men of the same age, a good way to compare salaries can be by years of experience. In this chart, we can see that even when accounting for different years of experience at each age, a slight gender-based pay gap remains. (The full version of these interactives includes charts covering salary by age, and experience by age for men and women.)

    This gap is often small. For example, at 4-5 years of experience the median (middle) man earns $2,000 more per year than his female counterpart. But by 11-15 years of experience this gap has become statistically significant, with a difference of $4,000. A pay gap between men and women of equal years of experience was also found by The Missing 32 Percent

    The curves for both men's and women's job satisfaction start high, are lower in the middle years, and end high. While the dip is moderate--a total drop of 1 satisfaction point for women and 0.6 for men, out of 10--it is statistically significant. 

    Why is this? We can imagine high satisfaction in the early years being due to youthful optimism, and high satisfaction in the later years due to the pleasures of mastery. Selection also plays a role, since those who don’t enjoy the work may be more likely to leave the profession before reaching their 50s or 60s. These phases of life are not specific to architecture: a study by Princeton University also finds this this U-shaped pattern for overall life satisfaction in the general population.

    The other striking pattern in our data is that men in architecture report liking their jobs more than women of the same age, consistently and statistically significantly. This finding is supported by Equity in Architecture Survey 2014, which found that 41% of male respondents but only 28% of female respondents were satisfied at work. What makes this result so notable is that the same study mentioned above found that women in the United States and similar countries are actually happier than men overall.

    Finally, our data also shows a brief bump in satisfaction in the 41-45 age range. This may in part be related to general population-wide trends. It's also possible that in the highly cyclical industry of architecture economic peaks and dips have enduring impacts on the achievement and satisfaction of workers on a generational basis.

    You may be wondering how legit all this data is. We asked the same thing, so as a spot-check, we compared our Archinect numbers with the AIA Compensation Report 2013, based on job titles where there was a close or reasonable equivalent. 

    Surprisingly consistently across the board, Archinect's earnings numbers are very similar to those from the AIA. Good job, Archineters!

    You probably noticed that Archinect's number's are a little lower. AIA's compensation figure includes overtime, bonuses, and other incentives, and this may account for much of the difference. There may also be sampling biases--for example, if those who are unhappy with their salaries because they earn less are more likely to interact with Archinect's poll, then our numbers would be a little lower. 

    Whew--good work making it through to the end of this post. If you still want more, check out the full interactives on ACSA's website. Thanks again to Archinect for sharing this (totally anonymous) data--and to all of you who responded to the poll!

  • The Architecture Salary Poll, visualized

    For a few years, Archinect has been collecting anonymous salary, satisfaction, and other juicy job-related data through its Architecture Salary Poll. It's a great resource--a Glassdoor for the architecture world--and Archinect has shared this dataset with ACSA in order for us to conduct some...

  • ACSA's Community Design Directory includes details on over 200 organizations

    Fourteen years ago, The ACSA Sourcebook of Community Design Programs at Schools of Architecture in North America included just over seventy organizations. Since then, the landscape has changed. Today, we're releasing a new directory, which includes over two hundred organizations, covering...

  • This Year ACSA is Hosting Its Architecture College & Career Expo Virtually

    At this year's ACSA Architecture College & Career Expo, students and their families will be able to do all of the things they would expect to do at an in-person event without having to travel. And it's free! Register now.Some Expo highlights include:- discovering how to select a program...

  • Live Blog: (Afternoon) Equity by Design: Knowledge, Discussion, Action!

    After a glorious lunch in the sun, looking out over the bay, we're back for the first afternoon session. (You can catch up on our morning session here.) (You can also view the full survey results from the Equity in Architecture Survey 2014  here.)Amber Evans, senior associate at GouldEvans, is...

  • Live Blog: (Morning) Equity by Design: Knowledge, Discussion, Action!

    There's a sold-out crowd for the big Missing 32% event today in San Francisco, at the gorgeous San Francisco Art Institute. We're in an intimate auditorium for introductions and recognition of sponsors who collectively shared $34k for the symposium.8:49 am: Rosa Sheng is explaining how she...

  • Where are the women? Measuring progress on gender in architecture

    Lian Chikako ChangWith recent conversations on gender in architecture fueled by Julia Morgan being the first woman to receive an AIA Gold Medal, the controversy around the Pritzker Prize and Denise Scott Brown (shout out to Women in Design and to DSB who celebrates her birthday today), and of...

  • Explore Data on Over 1,800 U.S. Programs in Architecture and Related Fields

    At the ACSA, we are most familiar with the 127 U.S. and 11 Canadian schools with accredited architecture programs, but prospective students and the public are seeing a much broader context. We wanted to learn more about all the institutions that offer programs in architecture and related fields...

  • Images from ACSA's Open Cities conference in Seoul

    ACSA recently held our biennial international conference in Seoul, South Korea, and we wanted to share some pictures from around the city, and of the event itself.The exquisite Korea Furniture Museum.Foundation detail at the Korea Furniture Museum.Lower plaza level at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza...

  • Toyo Ito's Keynote at the ACSA International Conference in Seoul

    We are in Seoul, South Korea at the esteemed Ewha Womens University, the world’s largest female educational institute, for the ACSA’s International Conference, Open Cities, and it’s time for our closing keynote, delivered by none other than Toyo Ito. Ito-san’s website includes the...

    Animated sectional diagram of Toyo Ito's Metropolitan Opera House in Taipei

  • Your Jurisdiction and You

    If you’re lucky, you could live in a state that wants your school to be responsible for both the education and the training of architects!Expect cautious optimism over the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) endorsement of a path for students to earn an architectural...

  • Licensed at Graduation: NCARB Endorses Plan for Architecture Students to Complete IDP, Examination While in School

    On Friday, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced their endorsement of a new path for architecture students —licensure upon graduation from an accredited program. Developed by the Licensure Task Force, a group comprised of leaders from NCARB, AIA, AIAS, NAAB...

  • ACSA Atlas examines economic outlook, demographic representation among students and faculty, and salaries

    The ACSA Atlas is an ongoing project examining architectural education in relationship to demographics, higher education, the profession, and the economy. We've just released a new set of graphics! This is a simple count of architects per state compared with population per state. (See in full...

  • The Journal of Architectural Education Gets a New Look from Design Studio Project Projects

    Since 1947, the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) has been the primary venue for research and commentary on architectural education. The flagship publication of the Association of Collegiate School of Architecture (ACSA), published through Taylor and Francis, has been through many...

  • Architecture school survey shows trends in budgets, applications, enrollment, and faculty hiring.

    ACSA conducted its fourth annual budget and enrollment survey of member schools this fall, asking programs about changes to their budgets, enrollment and applications, and hiring patterns. The results from 60 schools in the United States and Canada showed architecture programs facing slight...

  • What Fast Co. Design Gets Wrong, and Other Manufactured Outrages

    Architecture school design/build programs, in which students both design and construct a project at full scale, can provide a tremendous learning experience. This is why over 70% of accredited architecture programs in North America have them (data here). Fast Company Design recently highlighted a...

  • Gender in Architecture School Leadership

    Hello Archinect, I've been organizing spreadsheets, crunching numbers, and attending meetings, but this is the first graphic I've produced at the ACSA, so I wanted to share it here.   This one counts deans, directors, heads, and chairs in candidate and accredited architecture schools in...

  • Images from Boston Society of Architects' College Fair at Wentworth Institute of Technology

    Hello! Just wanted to share a few pictures from the BSA's Architecture/Design College Fair, held at Wentworth Institute of Technology. There was a good turnout of prospective graduate and (mostly) undergraduate students to talk with representatives from fifty schools from around the USA...

  • Journal of Architectural Education Reviews Over 40 Proposals for Future Issues

    The University of Pennsylvania School of Design hosted the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education this weekend. New executive editor Marc Neveu and the editorial board reviewed more than 40 proposals for themes of future issues. Writers from around the world responded to the...

  • Architectural Research European Network Association (ARENA) Launches

    Hello Archinect, Just sharing a press release from our friends across the pond. Lian *** Launch of the ARENA research network September 2013 The Architectural Research European Network Association, known as ARENA, has been launched as an open, inclusive and comprehensive network for architectural...

  • What happens after graduation? ACSA begins a Career Outcomes Data Effort

    By Lian Chang, ACSA Director of Research and Information How well did your architecture school prepare you for professional practice—or for careers outside of architecture firms? Is the gender imbalance that we see in the profession’s upper echelons beginning to change in the...

  • Is There Global Competition for Students and Graduates?

    By Michael J. Monti, ACSA Executive Director This year’s meetings of the European Heads of Schools of Architecture took up familiar themes of managing change within budgetary and other constraints, but one day’s discussion was particularly relevant to the North American context. In...

  • New ACSA Blog (and College + Career Expos in SF, Dallas, Chicago, Boston)

    Hello!  The ACSA will now blog from this little corner of Archinect, sharing news, events, and conversations about architectural education in the USA, Canada, and beyond. What is the ACSA?  To start, we are not the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)...

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About this Blog

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. Our members are over 250 schools, including all accredited programs in the USA and Canada, schools seeking accreditation, and non-accredited and international programs--representing over 40,000 architecture faculty and students.

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