This article was written on behalf of ArchiTeam, Australia’s leading representative of small, medium and emerging architects, in my role as director.
Between late September and early October last year, ArchiTeam conducted a substantial survey of our members. We received responses from 153 of you, or 22% of our membership at the time.
Though we’ve conducted member surveys in the past and gather membership data in the insurance forms you fill out each renewal period, this was the first time that we’ve ever looked so deeply into the work and lives of the people who make ArchiTeam the great organisation it is.
The results reinforce many of our assumptions about you, but they also reveal some new and unexpected insights. Before I explore these in detail, let me set the scene by sharing our goals for the survey:
- To help the ArchiTeam leadership understand you better.
- To understand the value that ArchiTeam brings to your lives.
- To allow you to benchmark yourselves against your peers.
To achieve these ambitions, we divided the survey into four parts and asked:
- Who are you?
- What are you working on?
- What do you think of the future?
- What do you think of ArchiTeam?
The ArchiTeam board has referred many times already to the survey results, which have helped us understand the impacts of our various programmes, make decisions about current and future projects, and shape the busy year already well underway. This is the first of a series of articles where we address the last goal of the survey, and share with you the insights we’ve gained.
Who are you?
The mean ArchiTeam member is a 45 year old male born in Australia. He graduated from university in 1998, registered as an architect in 2004 and formed his practice in 2007. He works from his Victorian home office as a sole practitioner and employs 1.2 staff.
But this is just the short story, and not a particularly diverse one.
The long story reveals that ArchiTeam actually comprises a rich cross section of the community. You are young and old, men and women, Australian-born and migrants, sole practitioners and company directors. Like the country in which you practice, it is heartening to see how truly diverse you are.
To drill down into the fascinating story behind the ArchiTeam membership, this article examines some of the data gathered in response to the first part of the member survey, who are you? First, let’s take a look at the years in which you graduated, registered and founded your practices:
What does this tell us about you?
- Collectively, you graduated from university, registered as architects and founded your practices across an incredible 50 year span.
- But the closer to today we travel through time, the more of you we see achieving each of these milestones.
- Many you are relatively new to your practices, with the hotspot hovering around 2014.
- And though still few in number, some of you graduated as recently as 2015.
- There is about a 5 year delay between graduation and registration, and another 5 years between registration and practice foundation.
Second, let’s look at gender:
Clearly, there is still an under-representation of women within architecture compared to men, making up only 41% of you. However, compared to research by Parlour, which shows that only 31% of architects and 22% of owners of architecture practices are women, ArchiTeam is actually punching well above its weight when it comes to gender equity.
On this note, it’s worthwhile mentioning also that of the 5 ArchiTeam board members and 5 office staff, I am the only man. And of the 15 members currently sitting on the CPD, conference and advocacy committees, 6 are men and 9 are women. Kudos women of ArchiTeam, my hat comes off to you!
Now let’s shift our focus to nationality:
What does this tell us about you?
- 71% of you were born in Australia.
- The remaining 29% hail from 24 other countries.
- Of these countries, 10 are in Asia, 9 are in Europe, 3 are in the Middle East, 1 is in Oceania and 1 is in North America.
- Curiously, of Australia’s 10 largest groups of overseas-born residents, neither New Zealand nor South Africa are represented.
And finally, let’s look at your business structures, studio locations and staff:
What does this tell us about you?
- The majority (56%) of you are sole practitioners, which coincides with ArchiTeam’s role as Australia’s leading representative of small, medium and emerging architects. There may also be some or many of you working within a company structure who are also sole directors.
- Partnerships are not a favoured business structure, representing only 5% of your businesses.
- There is a relationship between those of you who work as sole practitioners and those who work from home, as both groups represent around 50% of the ArchiTeam membership.
- Coworking spaces are clearly emerging as a viable alternative to either home or fully fledged offices.
- Graduates are your favoured staff type, comprising 22% of the average architecture practice, though between them architects and senior architects also comprise 22% of the average practice.
And that’s it for now.
A big thank you to all of the ArchiTeam members who generously provided your time contributing to our survey, it is immensely valuable. We hope to repeat the survey every year from now on, refining and expanding on it so we can build up a longitudinal understanding of ArchiTeam, and how you, your work and your businesses are developing.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the next article in the series, which will examine some of the data gathered in response to the second part of the member survey, what are you working on?
- I love how clearly the infograph illustrates this lag!
- Gill Matthewson; Parlour 2016 Census Report: Women in Australian Architecture; Parlour; page 28. Accessed from Parlour Census Report; Parlour; 23rd October 2018. Note that these statistics are derived from Australian Census data, and the figure for owners of architecture practices is a crude average of owners of incorporated and unincorporated businesses.
- My guess is this is a statistical anomaly and not a true representation of the full ArchiTeam membership. See Australia’s population by country of birth; Australian Bureau of Statistics; 23rd October 2018.
- Which goes entirely against what I learned at university, where partnerships were apparently as common as companies! I hope this is an indication of the growing appreciation within the architecture profession of all things business.
- ArchiTeam logo, copyright ArchiTeam.
- Graduated, registered, founded. Data sourced from the 2018 ArchiTeam member survey, visualisation by the author.
- Gender. Data sourced from the 2018 ArchiTeam member survey, visualisation by the author.
- Map of the world. Data sourced from the 2018 ArchiTeam member survey, base map by Sportpicks, visualisation by the author.
- Business, studio, people. Data sourced from the 2018 ArchiTeam member survey, visualisation by the author.