Recognition of the social and economic value of Architectural services – and the remuneration and conditions, career development and skill currency of the Architects who provide them – is central to developing a vibrant, diverse, innovative, responsive and committed Architectural services industry in Australia.
We see it as critical that we play an active and considered role in identifying and responding to the challenges which face the profession and industry – challenges that can only be tackled with the cooperation of major stakeholder groups and the commitment and involvement of Architects themselves.
But critical questions currently face the industry … How do we ensure that the fundamental role of Architects in responding to contemporary challenges in economic development, land use, infrastructure development and maintenance and environmental sustainability is properly recognised? How do we ensure the community values the benefits that good architectural services and high quality design services provide? How do we attract and retain the next generation of quality people to the profession and provide them with fair remuneration and reasonable conditions as well as the support and mentoring when they embark on their careers? And while demand may have softened with the contraction of the construction industry in the short-term, how do we avoid creating shortages in the longer-term because the profession has been driven into the ground?
How do we ensure that professional development practices continue to support the Architecture profession? As part of the practical ties of mutual interest in the Architecture profession and industry, how can we work collaboratively with the AIA and other key industry bodies and ensure both organisations play a dynamic and effective role in the industry? How have globalisation and developments in technology affected the industry? Fundamentally, what kind of support, structures and practices will be necessary to create a sustainable industry with the capacity to deliver innovative, high-quality Architectural and design services which meet the needs of the community in the long-term? These questions go to the heart of what it means to be an Architect today.
PAA Position Statements
The following are considered core issues or policy areas for the Architectural and design services industry and are the main focus of the Association of Professional Architects’ activities and campaigns …
The Role of Professional Architects Australia
The Association of Professional Architects will aim to:
- Protect and advance workplace conditions and minimum standards for all Architects throughout their professional careers
- Raise awareness of, advocate for, and support, the Architecture profession
- Promote an understanding of the leadership roles Architects play in designing, shaping and creating urban living spaces and built environments founded upon design excellence, social justice, economic value, leadership and open communication, and
- Encourage dialogue between employees, employers and industry bodies.
The Leadership Role that Architects Play in the Built Environment
Architects perform a vital service for the community and contribute their expert skills in a diverse range of settings. They play a fundamental role in responding to contemporary challenges in economic development, land use, infrastructure development and maintenance and environmental sustainability – challenges which can most usefully be addressed concurrently rather than independently, and by Architects with a sophisticated understanding of the built environment.
The industry generates revenue totalling around $2,700 million, with value added of an estimated $1,485 million. This comprises 0.15% of Australia’s GDP (in 2008/9). Industry revenue has grown by an estimated 4.5% per annum over the past 5 years, exceeding the pace of GDP growth (at 2008/9, 2.8% per annum). Industry export earnings are around $50.5 million or 2% of industry revenue.[i]
“Approximately 25% of Architecture graduates are overseas fee-paying students contributing to Australia’s success in receiving export revenue from this sector.”[ii]
Flexible neighbourhoods/suburbs, more liveable cities, better schools, housing, exhibition centres, gardens, government buildings, libraries, monuments and memorials, churches, mosques, museums, parks, parking areas, train stations, shopping plazas and piazzas, stadiums, temples, theatres, town and city halls, identifying and conserving cultural heritage, more effective disaster management and more sustainable solutions to challenges in the built environment generally are all outcomes of high-quality architectural and design. services.
Gender and Leadership
“While there has been generally speaking gender equity in terms of participation and graduations (average 41% of graduates from 1999-2010) from Architecture schools in Australia for the last 20 years, there are still very low rates of participation by women in the field of architectural practice, particularly by women in senior management roles.
“Only 20% of registered Architects in Australia are women compared to 46% in the legal profession and 36% in the medicine.. 1% of company directors were women in 2005.
“Of the 10,385 members of the Australian Institute of Architecture, 2,301 are women (22%).
“Of the 11,090 registered architects in Australia, 2,290 are women (20.6%).” [Source: Parlour website at http://www.archiparlour.org/]
Female graduates of architecture will get paid on average 88% of what their male colleagues will. The gender pay gap of 14% (i[ frpm 12% in 2010) is the second largest (after earth sciences) [Source: 2011 Grad Stats report].
“Women have been an active and highly successful part of the architecture profession in Australia for more than a hundred years, however they remain dramatically under-represented at senior management level and in professional leadership roles.” [Source: Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work and Leadership]
The PAA is concerned about the comparatively low rates of participation in the field of architectural practice for women, the comparatively low rate of registration, the gender pay gap for female Architects, the underrepresentation of female Architects at senior management level and in professional leadership and Board roles, job design and evaluation which does not take into account gender inclusiveness, as well as what it means for the profession to lose such a significant part of its talent pool. The attrition diminishes the Architectural services industry’s potential for change and renewal and contributes to skills shortages and gaps in the Architectural services workforce.
The PAA is committed to working with the industry to address these issues.
Work-life balance can be defined an attempt to achieve a balance between time devoted to work and time available for leisure and other activities. In most countries, as recently as 20 years ago, working hours made it possible for staff to maintain a balance between work and non-work life without too much difficulty. But since working hours have increased significantly in most industrialised countries, employees of many organisations now find it difficult to maintain this balance.
The OECD reports that in 2006, Australian full-time workers had the highest average number of total hours worked per week of all OECD countries.[iii] Australian full-timers worked an average of 43.4 hours, followed by employees in New Zealand (43.1 hrs), the United Kingdom (42.2 hrs), Poland (42.1 hrs), and the United States (41.7 hrs).[iv]
Many Australian employees report concern about their work/life balance. A 2007 survey of professionals and managers found that almost half (42%) of those surveyed reported high levels of work overload. 69 per cent of survey respondents reported that they extended their work day and worked from home in the evenings and on weekends. Respondents also reported that they were 3.6 times more likely to give priority to their work role than to their family role. The study also found increased levels of absenteeism due to physical, mental or emotional fatigue, decreased commitment to their job and their organisation, suggesting that a high workload culture may significantly impact productivity.[v]
Why is Dealing with Work/Life Balance Important?
The Association of Professional Architects is committed to assisting Architects achieve a sound work/life balance, and to assisting business and government implement policies in the four key areas of flexibility, appropriate leave arrangements, assistance with child and aged care, and general provision for work-life health and well-being. Such arrangements will contribute to improved social, family and work/life balance, the attraction and retention of Architects and their staff, more effective alignment of personal and organisational goals and the concomitant improvement to organisational performance, productivity and competitiveness.
Work/Life Balance Policies
McBain (2001)[vi] suggests that there are four broad areas normally covered by a work-life policy:
- providing flexibility in the form of flexible working hours and flexible work arrangements (including compressed work weeks such as a nine-day fortnight, flexitime, part-time work, working from home, job sharing, time off in lieu and phased retirement)
- providing special forms of leave (such as carer’s leave, study/training leave, career breaks and cultural leave)
- providing help with child care, aged care, parenting and pregnancy (such as paid/unpaid parental leave)
- providing for work-life health and well-being.
The Sloan Foundation’s Work-Family Policy Network report (2001) suggests that organisations should focus on achieving seven high-priority objectives: improved work design; paid family leave for carers; reduced and flexible hours; attracting women to leadership positions; ensuring staff are involved in shaping workplace policies; empowering the community in which the organisation operates and conducting work-family workshops.[vii]
The most productive and ‘desirable’ employees are those who have a balance between a healthy social, family and work life. Organisations are now assisting with achieving work-life balance providing leave for a range of non-work responsibilities, including care for the aged and children, as well as flexible working hours, nine-day fortnights and other support mechanisms.
Attracting and Retaining High-Quality Architects to the Profession
A work environment or culture should reward employees whose performance and accomplishments align with organisational objectives. Rewards may include not only remuneration but other benefits which make up a balanced and appropriate package for particular employees or groups of employees.
Retention and Turnover
Generally high employee turnover is considered to be a negative feature of an organisation and most organisations seek to retain staff by rewarding them for staying with the organisation.
Training and development, and flexible work practices are two of the most effective ways to help attract and retain staff. The PAA’s approach to these specific areas is set out in our position papers on professional development and work/life balance respectively.
Remuneration and Benefits
Remuneration and benefit packages must be regularly updated so the organisation remains competitive in the external labour market. Unless an organisation’s prevailing salary structure is competitive, it will be difficult to attract and retain quality Architects as part of the workforce. Organisations that successfully attract and retain key employees offer a well-balanced remuneration package.
The right kind of remuneration package can provide strong motivation to an employee. Such a package may not be comprised solely of a good salary, but include such features as flexible working hours, professional training courses (including post-graduate certificates, diplomas and degrees), and opportunities for overseas travel. Other benefits that motivate staff might be interesting and challenging jobs, and good working conditions-including first rate resources to do the job.[x]
The APA provides this list of general work practices as a resource upon which business and industry can draw to ensure the attraction and retention of managers.
- General strategies to attract, develop and retain staff
- Provide challenging work to facilitate job satisfaction
- Provide genuine opportunities and support for career advancement
- Provide appropriate rewards – salaries and other incentives
- Provide access to professional development opportunities to support career advancement
- Support/sponsor post-graduate education particularly in areas of shortage such as project management
- Provide internal training to meet specific needs of managers
- Assist with fees and expenses associated with structured training with registered training organisations
- Provide paid time off from work for travel, study, exams, residential programs and other features of external education
- Pay subscriptions and membership fees paid for professional publications and associations
- Provide mentoring from within the organisation to guide and support managers’ development
- Cover travel and attendance costs at conferences, seminars, conventions, symposiums and other professional gatherings, where employees may be delegates or speakers/presenters or both;
- Maintain in-house professional libraries; and
- Where appropriate, provide job rotation and opportunities to transfer internally.
The PAA is strongly committed to members accessing comprehensive, relevant and high quality professional development to support career advancement, provide job satisfaction and to assist with their fundamental function of achieving project and organisational goals
Professional development may take the form of:
- Assisting with fees and expenses associated with structured training with registered training organisations;
- Providing paid time off from work for travel, study, exams, residential programs and other features of external education;
- Paying subscriptions and membership fees paid for professional publications and associations;
- Providing senior mentoring from within the organisation to guide and support further development;
- Covering travel and attendance costs at conferences, seminars, conventions, symposiums and other professional gatherings, where Architects may be delegates or speakers/presenters or both;
- Maintaining in-house professional libraries; and
- Providing job rotation and opportunities to transfer internally.
Fair Remuneration and Conditions for Students of Architecture
The APA endorses engagement of Students of Architecture, as a minimum, as set out in clauses 15.4 and 15.5 of the Architects Award 2010, available at:
[i] Source: IBISWorld, p. 10
[ii]AASA (Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia) response to Higher Education Funding Review, p.2
[iii] Statistics sourced in July 2008 from OECS Stat Extracts, OECD Library, at http://stats.oecd.org/wbos/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=AVE_HRS
[iv] These statistics and information were sourced from Worklogic Consulting, http://www.worklogic.com.au/news_0807_excessive-workload.html, retrieved April 2010
[v] Duxbury, L and Higgins, C 2007 "Executive Summary to the Report: "Work-life balance in Australia in the New Millennium: rhetoric versus reality" " based on research conducted in Australia in 2007 by Beaton Consulting Pty Ltd in Melbourne, p.14.
[vi] McBain, R. (2001) 'Work, family and life-the benefits of achieving balance', Manager Update,Spring, 12(3): 24
[vii]Bailyn, L., Drago, R. & Kochan, T.A., Integrating Work and Family Life: a Holistic Approach - a Report of the Sloan Work-Family Policy Network, http://web.mit.edu/workplacecenter/docs/WorkFamily.pdf, retrieved April 2010
[viii] Frase-Blunt, M.(2001) 'The busman's holiday', HRMagazine,June, 46(6): 76.
[ix] 2010 Professionals Australia Chifley Business School Introduction to Management course notes, Topic 10
[x] 2010 Professionals Australia Chifley Business School Introduction to Management course notes, Topic 10