Salary guide 2022 - architects and architecture

The RIBA Jobs Salary Guide 2022 uses data from the RIBA Business Benchmarking Report, published in December 2021, drawing on insights from nearly 4,000 RIBA Chartered Practices.


The last two years have been a time of rapid change as practices adapt to the pandemic and the UK’s new trading arrangement with the EU.

Now more than ever, being equipped with the right salary information is essential to successfully recruiting the right candidate, or to finding the right practice to join.

This is true whether you are a student about to become a Part 1 Architectural Assistant, a highly qualified Architect, or a Director/Partner of a practice. The right information gives job-seekers valuable insight when applying for positions. It gives recruiters an understanding of their position in the industry, so job adverts can be competitive, attract talent and stand out.

Overall, 2021 has been a standstill year for salaries, although early indications suggest there is currently unmet demand for architects, which may yet feed through into salary increases in the near term.


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Average salary of all staff in the architecture industry:


Note: The MEDIAN average is the middle figure, when all figures are sorted into size order. The upper and lower quartiles show the practice revenue for a practice at the one-quarter and three-quarters position

Average Architect salaries remain consistent with previous year

Like last year, the average salary for Architects (5+ years ARB registered) was £40,000. Architects who have qualified more recently also saw their salaries standstill, with an average salary of £34,000 for Architects <5 years ARB registered, the same as last year. Average salaries are highest for all Architects in London and the South East.


Average earnings of senior staff by region:



Partners see salary increase

The average salary for Partners/Directors/Sole Principals rose; across all practice sizes in 2021 the average was £46,100, up from £43,500 the previous year. This 6 per cent rise for Partners/Directors/Sole Principals brings their average earnings back to trend after falling in 2019.


Average salaries of senior staff split by practice size:


Other staff groups – generally those who are paid less than an Architect also reported static pay levels through 2021. Technologists and Architectural Assistants (Parts 1&2) both saw average pay remain exactly what it was a year ago. The average salaries paid to office management/support and admin staff fell slightly. Other Chartered construction professionals saw a slight increase in average pay.


Average salaries of Associates and Architects 5+ ARB split by practice size:



Average salaries of Assistants Part 2 and Assistants Part 1 split by practice size:

Gender pay gap widens

At 15%, the overall gender pay gap is slightly wider in 2021 than it was in 2020 when it stood at 13 per cent. Female staff continue to be under-represented in the highest quartile of incomes and over-represented in the lowest quartile. When salary is looked at by ethnicity, there is a 14% pay gap in favour of white staff*.

This salary benchmark has been extracted from the RIBA's Business Benchmarking report and provides data on the average architect's salary.

*Note: Data on gender and ethnicity pay gaps relate only to larger practices that completed a separate spreadsheet. These are mainly, although not exclusively, practices with 100+ staff, self-selected.


Average salaries of office management/support and admin by practice size:















Survey notes:

  1. Chartered Practices were asked to provide data on the ‘average’ salary paid to each type of staff. Respondents calculated the ‘average’ themselves; we asked that this should ideally be the median average.
  2. We asked for the basic salary, excluding overtime. This is the salary received by the employee before tax and National Insurance are deducted but excluding Employer’s National Insurance costs.
  3. Basic salary was the salary being paid on 1 May 2021. The salary included profit share, where given, and if included it was the average profit share across the year. Bonus payment are not included.
  4. Partners/Directors/Sole Principals are treated differently. Their salary is combined with Partners' share of profits and Directors' dividends.
  5. All salaries have been converted by respondents to full-time equivalent. Salaries, dividends or profits shares and fringe benefits for Partners/Directors/Sole Principals are an approximation of the totals paid in the 12 months to 1 May 2021.
  6. Average earnings are reported here as 'median' averages, as distinct from 'mean' averages. This follows the approach used in the RIBA/The Fees Bureau Architects' Earnings Survey - the median average is virtually unaffected by the presence of any unusually high or low values.

Excerpts taken from the RIBA Business Benchmarking 2021 Report, prepared for the RIBA by The Fees Bureau.

Please note, the figures quoted in this article are from data gathered for the calendar year ending 31 December 2021. They do not take inflation into consideration and should not be used directly to set salaries. 

Practices must ensure that at least The Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation is paid for all roles, including those of apprentices and architectural students.

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