Quality-of-life benefits increasing in architecture firms, but compensation lags behind inflation, says AIA report
The AIA has released what it describes as its “most comprehensive report on architecture firm compensation and benefits trends in 15 years.” The 2023 edition of the AIA Compensation & Benefits Report includes an analysis of how firms have addressed rising inflation, staff shortages, increased financial pressure, and the impact of such pressures on recruitment and retention.
The report found there to be a rise in “quality-of-life benefits” at firms, particularly casual dressing policies, child-friendly and pet-friendly offices, flexible work hours, work-from-home opportunities, and adopting Juneteenth as a paid holiday. 57% of firms also reported hiring students for part-time work in 2022, an increase from 35% in 2020.
A greater emphasis on equity, diversity, and inclusion was noted at firms, with 73% of large firms reporting having internal values-based employee committees and resource groups. 66% of large firms also conducted salary assessments by gender in 2022, and 62% by race.
For most architect positions, compensation gains did not keep pace with the rising cost of living over the last two years, with a 4% rise in compensation surpassed by 5% inflation in 2021 and 8% inflation in 2022. The report also found that smaller firms increased salaries more over the past two years compared to large firms, at 16% versus 13%.
Although there were fewer remote workers in 2022 than in 2020, the number of remote workers remained higher than pre-pandemic levels across firms. 93% of all firms reported offering at least one form of employee licensure support in 2023.
News of the report comes days after the AIA’s latest Architecture Billings Index showed a stable third month in a row for firm billings.