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2020 job offers and salaries

joseffischer

As the title says, I thought we could hear from the fresh batch of grads on their job prospects as well as share more information about the expertise and skills required beyond what glassdoor may provide.  Feel free to share, for my part I've got the following:

Region: ATL
Role: PM on small jobs, max 3 architectural staff, $5-40M

Responsibilities: SD/DD thru CA, self-imposed quality control, client interaction, finishes, specs, and CA duties all done by the PM, budget and overall hours/schedule provided by Principals

Experience: 10+ years, but not all traditionally architectural, some consultant work doing PCAs and CA due diligence for banks and some construction work as superintendent

Salary: mid-80s USD
benefits: decent, great healthcare, subpar 401k-match (1%)

Jobs usually run 5 weeks to 4 months to get them through permitting.  Not all PMs are comfortable doing CA and/or some are better spent going to the next one, so we do have some CA guys in-house that only do that.  

 
May 14, 20 1:36 pm

1 Featured Comment

All 5 Comments

square.

10+ years experience, pm, and 80k a year? this profession is sad.

run while you can grads

May 14, 20 2:29 pm  · 
1  · 

What do think is an acceptable salary then for someone with 10 years experience as a PA/PM?

 · 
Koww

depends... are they male or female? or other?

 ·  2
square.

i'm not sure if the op is licensed, but assuming they are, i would expect a licensed professional (in general, not specifically arch) who has 10 years of experience and is managing projects and people, in a metro area, to make at least 100k a year. the fact that some would think this number is egregious shows how skewed our perception of value is. my friends in policy, healthcare, and even parks, some of which are not managers, and have less experience, make at least that much.

 · 
Non Sequitur

using today's currency values, 80k-100k USD is 110k to 140k CAD... which is a ridiculously high number, even for a metro area and 10y experience, in Canada unless you're the owner and pay your interns min wage ($15/hr).

 · 

Square - what type of firm do you practice architecture in and are you making that type of money?

1  · 
square.

chad, without disclosing too much, yes- i'm not a pm, but i make almost as much as the op. some management duties, but not most. we do anything but luxury. our higher ups make 100k+. i'm also in ny so it's all relative, i understand. regardless, i have good friends in ny who are professionals, not licensed, doing serious work and making far more than i do (none of which are in anything close to finance). in fact one of my friends just landed a job in another field (one that you would not assume to make a ton of money in) making 25k more than me with less experience and no license. everyone can throw numbers internal to the profession all they want, but relative to other professionals we are seriously under-compensated and over worked- that is a fact. those like non might argue it's worth it, and i respect that opinion. i'm just finding that it's not for me; it's hard to see yourself work hard and get licensed and be asked to do more and more every year while your peers in other professions are increasingly better off.

 · 
square.

also, non- your assumption is a bit off. take a look at the salary poll, filtering for atlanta and everything with over 8 years experience: plenty of individuals making over 90k, some upwards of 120. while it's not necessarily the mean, there seem to be enough to indicate it's possible, which is why i would encourage the op to ask for a raise and not let their firm get away with under valuing them, like many firms do.

https://salaries.archinect.com...

 · 
Non Sequitur

square, I've not assumed anything. I don't know shit about Atlanta other than roughly where it is geographically. I'm just making the comparison between numbers I am familiar with and their USA equivalent. 80k USD in my market is ridiculously high so I'm trying to understand what drives these numbers.

 · 
square.

understood- but going off my experience in the states and reading the numbers on the poll, it's not unreasonable for someone with 10 years experience, and also a project manager, to make 100k+.

see also the aia salary calculator- inputting the op's region, and base level project manager ("eight or more years of experience, licensure preferred but not required"), the median salary is 97k, and the lower quartile is 80k, which is the op's salary. go up one more title, to senior project manager (10 or more years) and the numbers increase to 118k median and 98k lower quartile (to be noted these numbers are more aspirational).

http://info.aia.org/salary/sal...


to your point it does seem that there is at times a discrepancy between the aia's targets and the reality on the ground, which i guess is what i'm getting at...

 · 

Yeah the numbers can be a bit 'off'. Below is some data I've collected in my area (western Colorado) for the average pay and billable rates.  Please keep in mind this is the average over several firms that range in size from 2-15 people.  This data does not represent state wide averages.  

Intern I                                     $38.5K                                     $55

Intern II                                    $45.0K                                     $65

Intern III                                   $52.0K                                     $75

Job Captain                             $62.4                                       $90

Architect I                                $55.4K                                     $80

Architect II                               $65.8K                                     $95

Architect III                              $76.2K                                     $110

Project Manager I                   $58.9K                                     $85

Project Manager III                 $65.8K                                     $115

Project Manager II                  $79.7k                                     $100

Director                                   $90.1k                                     $130

Principal                                  $114.0k                                   $165


1  · 
square.

damn those intern levels are depressing. it would be acceptable if we had canada's higher ed system, but with the average debt students are graduating with here, that's a hard salary to swallow.

 · 
tduds

"a licensed professional (in general, not specifically arch) who has 10 years of experience and is managing projects and people, in a metro area, to make at least 100k a year." 

I think people missed the "(in general, not specifically arch)" part of that comment, which is the important part. The counterpoint seems to be that architects shouldn't expect to make this much, but the comment is highlighting that our expectations are so low compared to other similarly experienced professions.

"80k-100k USD is 110k to 140k CAD... which is a ridiculously high number"

The point is that it shouldn't be ridiculously high, but is, because our profession is - relative to our peers - underpaid.

1  · 
tduds

Chad why are you paying your PM II so much more than your PM III? Are you being blackmailed?

 · 

When I got into this profession in 2002 as a fresh out of school intern in Minnesota I made $28K with a BA. Grads with MA's made the same at that time. I personally do not see the benefits of getting an MA over a BA. The pay is the same and both allow you the same process to become licensed. The only additional thing a MA will do for you is allowing you to teach.

 · 
Non Sequitur

food for thought, my wife is in education (early child area with learning difficulties) and makes the same with over 10y exp, so of it running her own program, and makes the same as I did when I had 0y exp... and they have a union.

 · 
square.

non- absolutely agree that teachers are worse off in terms of compensation.. one of the most under valued professions in my opinion, and the strikes make me hopeful that they will be more valued in the future. i fully believe that they deserve to make the types of professional salaries i'm describing (as tduds pointed out). in that sense our gap is smaller, and i feel more for the teachers. but i'm an architect and hope that our gap will be closed too.

 · 
tduds

I will agree that teachers are one of the most historically underpaid professions.

1  · 
square.

chad- that's insane that there's only been a 10k increase in compensation for entry level workers over almost two decades in your area; talk about flat wage growth, infact i think that might be negative relative to inflation (link below says 28k in 2002 is 41k today). supports my hypothesis that relative architectural compensation is on a downward trend


https://smartasset.com/investi...

1  · 

tduds - I am the one doing the blackmailing!  


The PM II and III are reversed - damn my typing skills.  :)

1  · 

square - it's not just my area. I started working in Minnesota. I now work in Colorado. The info I posted is for western Colorado.  The firm I started with in Minnesota payed well.  It would be like making around $41K today for right out of school intern.

 · 
Featured Comment
senjohnblutarsky

So... you're just posting information in a thread that could be posted in the Archinect Salary Poll? 

https://salaries.archinect.com/

May 14, 20 3:28 pm  · 
6  ·  1
joseffischer

The poll doesn't really give me a chance to have a discussion with anyone... now does it. I gave up on this thread until it popped into my head because it didn't get any comments. Now I see it basically was another place for people to argue about what we should be paid... which wasn't my intent and I apologize.

 · 
Non Sequitur

I won't divulge my own compensation details but since we've kept everyone employed full-time (even those with "on-hold" projects or who simply cannot work because they have young kids), I don't think I'll be getting my share of the 2019 profits.  Nothing confirmed yet.

May 15, 20 9:40 am  · 
 · 

I know I won't be getting a raise or a bonus this year. I'm ok with it as I'm not going to work any overtime this year and that is what our bonus is based on.

 · 
Volunteer

You need to compare after tax income with the cost of living in a given area. $100,000 is very low in NYC, Boston, San Francisco, very comfortable in Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston. Some cities, like Chicago, are bombs waiting to off with massively increased taxation to pay for the miserably underfunded city and state pension programs. Avoid. 

May 15, 20 12:01 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

To satisfy my curiosity, do you know of a table that compares cost of living?

 · 
tduds

Not exactly what you're asking for, but I've found this calculator very useful in cost of living comparisons: https://livingwage.mit.edu/

 · 
square.

agreed, which is why i find the questions comparing my salary in ny to the op's in atlanta not useful. this is why i pointed to the salary poll and compensation reports that are more location specific

 · 
joseffischer

ATL can be as affordable as sharing a 2/2 and splitting rent at $600 each, while still living inside the perimeter... though I wouldn't call it "city" life. A studio in midtown can be up to $2500 or so. You can grab condos in decent locations for $210-230k as a floor. Don't know how that compares to Canada, NYC, etc

 · 
Rusty!

Here is a helpful hint. Salaries are much higher in megacities because firms can afford to pay more because cost of construction is much higher, and higher construction costs lead to higher cost of living, thus requiring higher salaries. Circle of expensive life! [raises a baby lion]. 

Our firm typically gets wrecked when we do a project in bumblefuck USA. Numbers don't really work when everyone is paid NYC money. 

I'd probably make half in Atlanta, even though Atlanta is not that cheap any more. But construction there is inexpensive so architects get fucked. 

May 15, 20 12:41 pm  · 
 · 

I think most people are aware of that Rusty. Personally I don't even look at the average pay data for a state. You have to look into the region you'll be living in. When looking at a new area practice in I've always used a cost of living comparison when determining how my pay would need to change to maintain my current lifestyle.

 · 
square.

agreed chad. it's all true but a red herring to this thread. i'm not trying to compare atlanta to ny, which is apples to oranges. i'm using the salary data from the op's city and region to indicate that the op is underpaid for their level of experience and responsibility, a trend that is common in architecture regardless of where you live. aka the local discrepancies between anticipated/target/aspirational pay (dreamed up by the aia and society at large) and actual pay

2  · 

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