AIA Compensation Report


The 2019 report came out last month and I have to say I was pretty surprised. I knew I was underpaid but the salaries I'm seeing for my area (DC) are way higher than what I have heard from my peers - even the ones who started at new firms this year or have recently had offers. It could just be that my sample of acquaintances are underpaid generally, but I'm wondering where all these high salaries are coming from. Have others found these numbers to be representative of what you know for your local market?

Oct 11, 19 5:49 pm

I'm not a good representative as my specific position doesn't fall into the positions reported in the survey (no idea under what position my firm would report my salary for the survey either), but I was a little skeptical of the numbers I was seeing in the salary calculator, and other articles discussing the report, as well. I say use the numbers to your advantage as much as you can though. I did in 2017-2018 to get a healthy raise(see my latest comment in the blog post here).

I found the article in Architect Magazine from last month interesting for the discussion about compensation and benefits, etc. Although, seeing the Architectural Billings Index take a dive, and then seeing the following from the article was enough to get my attention (emphasis mine):

"Average total compensation across all architectural staff positions averaged in excess of $92,000 at the beginning of 2019, up more than 6% per year from early 2017 levels, according to the recently released 2019 AIA Compensation Report. This pace of growth matches the strongest annual rate seen over the past two decades. However, it is a cautionary note that the last times architect compensation reached an increase of 6% per year—1999 and 2008—the economy and the construction sector were either starting to enter national economic downturns or were just about to do so."

Oct 11, 19 7:15 pm  · 

This aged like milk.

Feb 25, 21 9:51 am  · 

I should have been more pessimistic?

Feb 25, 21 10:12 am  · 

No no, I think you nailed it!

Feb 25, 21 10:48 am  · 

Isn't that the opposite of it aging like milk? Have I misunderstood that saying this whole time?

Feb 25, 21 12:32 pm  · 
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Well I guess you're correct. But saying something positive, like this aged like fine wine, didn't seem appropriate given you so accurately predicted such an extreme economic downturn. My bad!

Feb 25, 21 12:45 pm  · 

EA didn't predict the downturn.

Feb 25, 21 12:47 pm  · 
1  · 

Aged like milk into a rich, savory cheese.

Feb 25, 21 12:52 pm  · 
1  · 

Great reply EA, my thoughts as well.  Still, strike while the iron is hot.

Oct 11, 19 9:29 pm  · 
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