Job Prospect Comparison (UK vs CA vs AUS)


I am a Master of Architecture Graduate with three-year work experiences, now undertaking professional exams of my own country. Hope can be a Registered Architect very soon. Just few papers left.

Yet I am looking into opportunities overseas and further develop my career there. UK, Canada and Australia are the potential places. Thanks to the mutual-recognition agreement, my bachelor and master degree are recognized in these three countries.  But my future professional charter cannot. So I will very likely to take the professional exams again overseas.

I know that the pandemic is still harming the world's economy. Let's discuss about the cases before that, and assume the industry will be similar after the economy recovery.

The following is my analysis with some solid data. Please feel free to add any points or correct any inaccurate info.

Industry Prospect

Required Experience before eligible for professional exams(


    • My bachelor and master is RIBA-recognised. 

    • need to submit portfo and interview for Part 1 degree conversion

    • need to take Part 3 courses

    • 2 years work experience required.

    • no restrictive requirement on logbook

    • in which 1 year can be overseas exp. So I only need to work for one more year after I start my job in UK for taking the exams.

  • Canada (CACB)

    • My bachelor and master is CACB-recognised, under "Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA)

    • need to submit portfo for degree and master's further recognition

    • 3 years work experience

    • with restrictive requirement on logbook (i.e. work exp needs to cover a number of stages and tasks of a project)

    • usually takes 3 - 5 years before taking exams (what i have researched online)

  • Australia (AACA)
    • My bachelor and master is AACA-recognised, under "Canberra Accord”
    • need to submit portfo for degree and master's further recognition
    • 2 years work experience
    • no restrictive requirement on logbook

Salary (for Master Graduate and Registered Architect)

  • Conclusion : AUS > CA > UK

(Yet, from some discussion in this forum, someone stated that the Canada's Hays salary data is too high. Only the lower quartile reflects the reality)

  • UK data : from RIBA 2020 survey

  • CA data : from Hays 2020 survey 

  • AUS data : from ACA 2018 survey

  • After tax salary : from online simple tax calculator

It would be very useful to me if anyone from UK, CA, and AUS can provide more details and share your views on your local industry prospects. Your comments would be more rewarding than looking through those general job market reports and statistics. Thank you!

Jan 21, 21 2:57 pm
Non Sequitur

Canadian architect here (licensed in On and Qc).

I think you need to look a little more into the licensing process, but you have a decent handle on it.  One of the main things is that you cannot have all your intern hours outside of a Canadian architecture office.  Some are allowed, but the bulk must be here and must meet the minimums in each IDP categories.  You will also require a local architect as mentor who will review your progress and "sign off" on your experience.  You can write the exams (ExACs) once you reach 50% of the required IDP hours but cannot be registered as architect until you pass all 4 exams (testing is only available in November in non-covid eyars) and complete 100% hours.

The rest of your stats such as salary make sense and will fluctuate slightly based on the city and province.  Canada is a big fucking place so try to narrow your search down since Toronto is only one location.

As for the job market, again, this will vary on each province's economy.  My local market is very strong at this time but using large job sites is not the best way to see employment opps... unless you're only interested in working in mega-sized A&E places.  Most architecture jobs are posted on each provinces' respective professional association's (or the RAIC's) websties.

But with all that said, you don't need to pursue a local license if you just want to work in an office.

Jan 21, 21 3:25 pm  · 
2  · 

Like NS said you don't need to pursue a local license if you just want to work in an office. The First thing that you need is to research on how to obtain work permit (if you haven't done it already) , those three countries have different rules when it comes to letting foreign workers in.

Jan 23, 21 1:50 am  · 
2  · 

Hi NS. really feel so excited to receive a CA registered Architect's reply, like you. If you dont mind, i would like ask a few more query about CA archi industry.

Jan 27, 21 2:48 am  · 

Hi NS 

  1. Is it easy to get mutual-recognition from other provinces? I am thinking about the mobility of being registered in CA. Is it common for CA Provincial Architects to move to other provinces?
  2. Is it really easier to find a job in GTA? Do you have any other suggested cities within Ontario? 
  3. Would it be beneficial to me to get a job, if I enroll diploma course about local regulations and local working knowledges? Is there any courses on this? 
  4. It is possible to satisfy all the Logsheet Requirements, even when I just work for one company? Since project lasts for years and it takes time to work for all kinds of stages, as per required under Logsheet. i m thinking if i need to change offices frequently in order to fill up the Logsheet.
  5. Have you meet anyone like me who came from overseas and work in Archi field in CA? Do you mind to share his/her path for me as a reference? 

 I would be obliged to receive you helpful reply. Thank you very much!

Jan 27, 21 3:18 am  · 
Non Sequitur

Hi Sleepy, I will try to help.

Jan 27, 21 6:22 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Hi Sleepy, I will try to help.

  1. Common for archs to jump from province to province? Yes.  Common for the average arch to hold licenses in more than one province? No.  First, Canada is a big place and most provinces will throw some additional req your way when you seek reciprocity.  Then there is the cost.  I think I expensed about $3400 worth of dues last month for 2021 so holding multiple licenses is not an expense the average staff architect needs.  Having multiple licenses is more suited for those in management in larger corporate offices.
  2. As I've mentioned before, Canada is a big place and the market forces in Calgary (none at this time) are different than those in Ottawa or Halifax.  You'll need to consider the type of firm you want to work in and then compare who is doing what in each city.  License requires something like 800 hours minimum to be recorded within the province you want for primary license. Can't recommend any particular place but I would say you may want to avoid Alberta for the moment, as well as southern Ontario and most of Quebec (always good advice to stay clear of Quebec, because it's Quebec, but also because it expects excellent French language skills).  Toronto and Vancouver are big enough to offer everything but everyone goes there so expect lower $ and competition for entry gigs.  I don't know Where you're coming from, but we also have winters here.  -40C mornings will make you reconsider more than just your licensing choice...
  3. Most foreign-educated arch students end up in some sort of architectural technology diploma course.  These have a low-bar for entry and are every city has 2 or 3 local colleges with them.  It's an ok course but it's goal is to pump out drafting staff, not architects.  Unfortunately, the professional practice courses are reserved for the M.arch degrees but intro courses are provided (for a fee) to interns once they register with a province.  These courses are mandatory for everyone who wishes to write their exams.  The reality is that most of this stuff is actually learned on the job and unfortunately, many end up in spots with little exposure to professional practice.
  4. It is possible to fill all hours in one office within a reasonable time frame (3 to 5 years) if you're smart about it and openly communicate your intentions with your employer.  If they drag their feet on your requests, then you change jobs and find an office that values the process and will invest the time into their staff.  The licensing boards will consider the size and type of projects when you submit hours and they might recommend you seek experience in other types of buildings if, for example, you submit 2000hrs of commercial retail fit-ups.  What you need to be concerned about is not so much on the type and length of projects but on hitting all the milestones.  Far too many interns never see a construction site, or do construction administrations, or specification writing, etc.  I will guarantee that you will fill up 3x your MAXIMUM allowed hours in the SD/DD categories before you reach half the minimum hours in office administration.  Not every hour counts and you could easily work for months at a time without getting useful hours to log if you get stuck in a production-only role.  
  5. Search the forum for 18 seconds and you'll see a whole bunch of foreign-trained architects looking for greener pastures here.  It's a popular idea, but I can't see it being an easy one.  Those I've known have all completed canadian M.arch degrees.

Hope this helps

Jan 27, 21 6:51 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

...and for any of the other site regulars reading these replies, please note that I do claim some of my Archinect time as part of my continuing education requirements. You'all should do the same. 8-)

Jan 27, 21 6:56 am  · 
1  · 

NS, do you mind telling me which association to be referred if I want to know the Ontario recruitment for archi people.? coz u mentioned about LinkedIn is not that popular. but there is quite a number of Canada archi society and I'm still quite puzzled about them...

Feb 16, 21 6:51 am  · 
Non Sequitur

By recruitment, you mean for jobs and whatnot? If so, I don't know of anything specific and from what I've seen, recruiting firms here are mostly used by very large A&E offices looking to poach quality staff. Most decent offices will advertise openings on their own sites or through either their provincial association's network (OAA for Ontario) or the RAIC.

Feb 16, 21 7:27 am  · 
1  · 

Hi NS, hope you dun mind if I ask more questions. (1) which green building credit system Canada use? LEED or WELL? I am thinking if I take exams for these ones overseas before coming to Canada. (2) Is Revit widely use in construction industry? (3) Is the working environment full of no-pay overtime working, like archi industry in other places? thank you very much!

Mar 22, 21 9:47 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Sleep... to start off, LEED or WELL are not green systems. The former is a series of check-lists that makes it look like the owner is making an effort at sustainability and the other is mostly a grab bag of feel-good googly-gook woo design "rules". They mean nothing unless you can use them beyond the spreadsheets. 

 As for revit, yes, it's very common, almost mandatory, but with revit, academic use means very little in the real world. So it's good to know how to use it but the real bonus is using it AND knowing how construction/details work in real life. Schools are very bad at making this connection.

Pay-wise, it will vary from office to office but we have decent labour laws here and very little exploitation, such as you'll see elsewhere, is present.  With that said, there are slave-driven offices but they are the exception rather than the norm.  Salary, perks, and responsibilities are based on your experience, obviously.

Mar 22, 21 10:30 pm  · 

Hi, following for updates. 

Jan 24, 21 8:52 pm  · 

Hi Sadakon! any advice or knowledge you would like you share? open to any kinds of discussion about these three places!

Jan 27, 21 3:24 am  · 

UK - damp and cloudy

Canada - Cold and 4 months of poor skating

Aus - Good Day..... everyday!

Jan 25, 21 4:53 pm  · 

Its only poor skating if you're poor at skating!

Jan 25, 21 5:10 pm  · 
2  · 

Hi whislter! Are you from Aus? Do you mind to share your advice on archi industry? aside from the weather lol. thx!

Jan 27, 21 3:23 am  · 

Sleep... Non Sequitur has a pretty good summary above. I was born and grew up in Canada. University and career in Canada so I can't really comment on anything else other than the professional opportunities are generally diverse but limited just because of size and growth potential in comparison to other larger countries. Culturally very similar to Aus but less formality than perhaps the UK. Cities are busy and generally more abundance of jobs vs. more rural settings. Depends what your interest is but I grew up in the city but moved away to a more rural setting which better suited my career goals and life style choices.

Jan 27, 21 12:57 pm  · 
2  · 

you're extremely overthinking this. learn to accept you can't plan out an optimal future for yourself ten years in advance. at this point, look for a city you like with a healthy architecture scene in any of those countries and you'll be doing as much as anyone could do. also - important- you can move later someday if you want to! many or maybe most architects eventually do.

Jan 27, 21 7:13 am  · 
2  · 

hey sleepearlier! Did you manage to make a decision on moving to Canada to pursue your architectural career ?

I am also thinking about moving over to Canada, ON. I am licensed in the UK but have been in the US working in one of our offices out here, which has been a great experience, however, i would like to move over to Canada. 

Jun 16, 21 8:55 pm  · 

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