Psychographic and demographic details about architects within the United States are presented below. The findings show that architects appreciate empathy in customer service and educative content written by expert manufacturers. Given the low numbers of women in positions of prestige and authority, as well as low numbers in racial and ethnic diversity, the profession might suffer from some "old-school thinking." Complete details about these and all other findings are presented below.
Architects As Consumers
- Research conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) "advises building product manufacturers on how to best serve the busy architect’s product specification needs. Trust, good communication, empathy, and service are all underscored in the report."
- When making purchases, one architect-focused psychographic report noted that this group of professionals can be divided into three groups:
- 41% are professionally conservative and "typically work in the Midwest and Northeast, are over 55 years old, have an engineering bent, and are less likely to specify products new to the market" or do LEED work.
- 33% are dynamists who are younger, mostly men, and likely to work in an architecture firm which has an 'outspoken corporate culture.'"
- 26% are considered risk-takers who are a multidisciplinary bunch who typically live in the West, "work in firms with more women and people of mixed ages, have an environmental bent, and 'experimental culture.'"
- One article reported that the limited gender diversity in architecture firms at higher levels reveals that there may be a considerable amount of "old-school thinking" and an implied "prejudice within firms." Others say the reason for this lack of diversity is a concern for women's work-life balance or long hours that make starting a family difficult.
- In 2015, an AIA survey on diversity found that people of color and women were more likely than whites or men to be less likely to get promoted to more senior positions. Women also report that they are "often encouraged to pursue interior design and other design fields rather than architecture" which is especially discouraging considering that women in architecture tended to complete their licensure requirements 1.2 years sooner than their male counterparts.
- "Both women and people of color feel they do not receive equal treatment compared to their male, white counterparts, respectively—and, as a result, are paid less and are less likely to be promoted."
- Venveo, a prominent player in the building materials industry, published the "Marketing to Architects" report that notes architects prefer to engage with resources that are full of product details, clearly developed by an expert, and available online.
- An important architecture trade publication is ArchRecord (formally, Architectural Record), which Venveo critiques as being a resource that architects "barely read" and one that is focused on offering "[useless] glossy magazine ads and taglines."
- Architects also want their content to supply "quick answers, lots of supporting reviews, testimonials, and insights from a range of perspectives."
- Data published by Bloomberg but originally gathered from the US Census Bureau (2014) revealed that male architects "[tend] to marry female elementary and middle school teachers, ... designers, secretaries, managers, and male retail salespeople," while female architects tend to marry other "male architects and female office administrators."
COVID-19 Impacts & Pressures
- These major financial and professional challenges within the industry are bound to profoundly affect architects during this time; potentially making previously valid insights about their behaviors temporarily moot:
- Between March 17th and 24th, another prominent source of professional architecture, the AIA, conducted a survey of 387 leaders at architecture firms to determine the effects of COVID-19 on the profession. The survey found that 94% of respondents were anticipating revenue dips in March and expected them to deepen in April. By April 2020, 32% of firm leaders expected to experience a 10-24% decline in revenues due to COVID-19.
- Only 33% of prospective projects were moving ahead as expected once social distancing efforts began in the United States; 17% of respondents saw "many" projects slow down or stop completely and 50% felt that "some" prospective projects had stopped or slowed down.
- Foster + Partners, a worldwide architecture firm that employs 1,400 people required employees to take a 20% paycut for 3 months. Also, all projects in New York were suspended indefinitely.
- 47% of architecture firm respondents note their firms have instituted no-travel policies for this very travel-centric profession.
- Because many architecture firms qualify as small businesses, many will likely need to apply for the government's Payment Protection Program to get a bit of relief. According to the AIA, in 2017, 75.8% of all firms employed 1 to 9 workers; only 6.3% employed 50 or more people.
- Based on a 2012 US Census Bureau Economic Census report, at that time, there were 20,836 architectural firms in the country that employed 146,277 workers. In 2019, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were 133,900 architecture jobs in the country.
- Comparatively, there are 130,000 men in the architecture profession and 50,500 women.
- In 2017, architecture firm leaders reported that 35% of their architects were female. By 2020, that number was expected to grow to 37% and 41% by 2025. In 2015, only 20% of the female architects were principals or partners within the firm.
- Additionally, women lead only three of the 100 biggest architecture firms in the world; all of these firms happen to be Scandinavian.
- The average male architect is aged 45.9 years; female architects are, on average, 39.3 years old.
- In 2017, architecture firm leaders reported that 27% of their architects represented non-white racial or ethnic groups. By 2020, that number was expected to decline to 26% and then increase to 29% by 2025. In 2015, only 11% of people of color were principals or partners within the firm.
- The most common race or ethnicity of architects (except naval architects) in the United States is white (79.5%), Asian (11%), and black (exact rate was not provided by original source), respectively.
Sources of Income
- In 2019, the median pay for architects in the United States was $80,750.
- 69% of architects worked at traditional firms, 20% were self-employed, 3% worked for the government, and 3% worked in the construction industry.
Licensed vs. Non-Licensed
- The ratio of non-licensed architects to licensed is reported to appear a little low. However, the ratio is 1.3:1, respectively.
- In 2018, there was a -2% change in the number of architecture licensure candidates.
- States reported to show the highest employment levels for architects were California (14,480), New York (11,470), Texas (9,380), Illinois (5,760), and Florida (4,230). East coast states tend to have the highest concentrations of this profession.
- An additional resource that might continue to bolster a fuller understanding of the psychographics and motivations of US-based architects is the Life of an Architect website. The site features podcasts and extensive interviews of prominent architects.
- Should more immersion into the lives of architects be of value, another resource that might prove to be helpful is the Business of Architecture Podcast which features interviews and deep discussions related to the discovering of "strategies, tips, and secrets" for running an architecture business.
- Additionally, "day in the life" perspectives might also help to craft some finer points about individual architects and their work-life movements (e.g., post COVID-19, female architects, or senior architects with young families).
- The AIA worked with B2B International and Construct Connect on a resource that might be relevant: "The Architects Specification Journey: Understanding the Role of Building Product Manufacturers, Today and Tomorrow." The report is behind a paywall but might be of value.