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Persistent gender pay gap, under-award wages, finds architect salary survey

The Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) has released its 2016 National Salary Survey.

The 2016 survey is the fourth annual survey conducted by the ACA and reported a total of 2,311 staff responses from 113 practices. This equates to a 48 percent increase in staff responses and 28 percent increase in firms from 2015.

The highest salary reported was $356,590 for an experienced director/principal, while the lowest was $16,874 in the same category. “This is possibly due to someone taking remuneration in forms other than salary,” the survey report said.

The survey report, prepared by Gillian Matthewson, found the “gender pay gap persists for architects and for interior designers.” Across nine role categories (ranging from graduate with up to two years’ experience to experienced director/principal), seven reported males receiving more pay than females, some by more than 10 percent.

Architects’ salaries across the categories differed enormously, with the highest-paid person in each category receiving up to three times more than the lowest-paid person.

The survey also found under-award wages for architects across five categories: graduate up to two years, experienced non-registered, registered up to three years, registered up to six years and registered over six years. In all, 15 firms (13 percent of those surveyed) reported below-award wages.

“ACA is very concerned to note that some practices appear to be still paying below the minimums stipulated by the Architects Award,” ACA said.

According to the Fair Work Commission, minimum wages for architects range between $47,720 for an entry-level graduate architect to $58,584 for a registered architect.

Across the country, New South Wales was the most well-paid state, while South Australia was the least well-paid. The report also found Victoria did not appear to be well-paid, “however, the response from this state was both low relative to population and dominated by the lower-paid three-to-nine-person firms.”

The size of the practice was also a contributing factor to wages. Generally, staff from larger firms reported higher wages.

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