The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among UK practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining "very strong and widespread across the whole of the UK". Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month's survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the East Midlands and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.
Adrian Dobson, Director of Practice at the RIBA, said that "the biggest growth in actual workloads by value now appears to be occurring in the commercial sector, following a long period in which the private housing sector has tended to lead the way. This appears to be a country-wide trend." The report, however, shows that there has been actually been little change in the workload forecast analysis by sector, though the private housing sector (balance figure +33) and the commercial sector (balance figure +20) appear to offer the best prospects for increases in medium-term workloads. All sector forecasts remain in positive territory.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index "rose significantly" in June, increasing to +16 compared with +7 in May of this year. This is the highest figure for the main staffing forecast since the RIBA Future Trends monthly survey began in January 2009. Although the great majority of practices (94%) expect their staffing levels to either stay the same or increase during the next quarter, the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed was up slightly at 17%. According to the RIBA, "this suggests that there remains spare capacity in the profession which is still constraining overall jobs growth."
The monthly survey is designed to “monitor the employment and business trends affecting the architectural profession throughout the period of economic downturn,” the data from which is analyzed by both the RIBA and the Fees Bureau. It is a “representative sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations” with 1,600 British Architects from 226 firms contributing.
Read the June 2014 report in full here (PDF).