The AIA has released the results of a survey on diversity in the workplace. Taken by more than 7,500 professionals in the industry, the purpose of the survey was to investigate the careers of architects and observe how firm culture affects career paths, depending on race, ethnicity, and gender.
Some of the key findings included representations of gender and race, challenges to career advancement, work-life balance and its impact on women, factors impacting the representation of minorities, reasons for leaving the architecture field, and job satisfaction levels.
The survey found that the majority of women in the profession believe that there is not gender equality in the industry, while men are divided on the issue, with half believing women are represented, and the other half believing they are underrepresented. Unlike with gender, however, both Caucasians and people of color agree that people of color are underrepresented in the architecture profession.
There were also alarming results regarding career advancement. Women and people of color feel that they are less likely to be promoted to senior positions and less likely to receive equal pay. Women also felt that they were often encouraged not to pursue architecture careers and along with people of color, felt that they were less likely to receive job offers after graduation.
The top three possible reasons for women being underrepresented in the profession (according to those who felt this way) said that there was a concern about work-life balance, long hours which make starting a family difficult, and a lack of flexibility to work remotely, job share, or work flexible hours. They also felt that returning to the work force after having a child was harmful to a woman’s chances of being promoted or given other equal opportunities. It is also notable that all architects, regardless of gender or race, consider work-life balance to be important, and many of them felt unsatisfied with their inability to achieve it.
The survey asked architects to think of effective ways to address the issue of underrepresentation, and factors which may contribute to it. Some of the suggestions included offering scholarships, building pipelines through the schools, providing support systems in architecture schools, and providing clear criteria for promotion.
Lastly, the survey asked architects about their job satisfaction and reasons for leaving the field. The main reason for leaving the field was because of better opportunities elsewhere. About half of respondents reported high satisfaction with their jobs overall, and only a few were highly unsatisfied. Less than half of all architects are satisfied with their work-life balance, with the recognition they receive for their work, or with the frequency of being able to work on meaningful projects. Satisfaction was lowest on salary and fairness and transparency of their employers’ promotion and compensation practices.
You can see the full results of the survey, here.