Gender pay gap has widened at top architectural practices

Robbie Turner RIBA director of inclusion and diversity: "We need to do more"

The gender pay gap reported by the UK’s top 10 practices has risen since the figures were last published

New statistics released in early April showed that women at those companies, on average,  earn 15 per cent less than men, based on median hourly pay. Figures for the same 10 firms published last year showed a gap of 13.7 per cent, meaning the gap has widened by 1.3 percentage points.

This year’s reporting revealed that the gap had widened at six of the top 10 firms: Zaha Hadid Associates (ZHA), Sheppard Robson, Allies and Morrison, Hawkins\Brown, Grimshaw, and Stride Treglown.

The gap at ZHA widened from 11.6 to 14.0 per cent with women earning 86p for every £1 earned by men, according to the company’s latest figures. It marks a reversal of the 8.7 percentage point improvement between 2021 and 2022.

Women at Sheppard Robson earned 84p for every £1 that men earned with the gap reported as 15.9 per cent – a considerable deterioration from the 9.5 per cent gap posted a year ago.

Allies and Morrison reported a wider gender pay gap of 12.6 per cent (up from 7.3), Hawkins\Brown’s gap was 8.2 per cent (up from 7.7), Grimshaw’s was 13 per cent (up from 10), and Stride Treglown’s was 19.8 per cent (up from 18.6).

Allies and Morrison said that, despite those figures, more than 58 per cent of new recruits in the past 12 months were female and over half were from underrepresented backgrounds.

Some improvement

Foster + Partners – the UK’s largest practice – was among the four top 10 practices whose pay gaps shrank in comparison to a year ago. Women at the company earned 10.5 per cent less than men (compared to 12.8 per cent last year), or 90p for every £1 earned by men.

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), Atkins and BDP Architects also improved on last year, although the latter continues to have the biggest gender pay gap of any top 10 UK practice plus the RIBA.

BDP’s data showed that women at the UK’s second largest practice earned 21 per cent less than men, or 79p for every £1 earned by their male colleagues. This was, however, a marginal 0.4 per cent improvement on the previous year.

Meanwhile at the RIBA, women are earning 15.1 per cent less than men – a gap that has widened by 3.8 percentage points compared with 12 months ago.

"We need to do more"

RIBA director of inclusion and diversity Robbie Turner was quote in the Architects Journal saying: ‘While it is important to acknowledge the limitations of this data, which do not capture the nuances of gender, cultural, or ethnic identity, intersectionality, or individual experience, the picture is clear – we need to do more.

‘This data does provide a valuable overview of trends within our organisation, which we will use alongside more timely and granular data to track the impact of our work.’

Companies with more than 250 employees have been required to report gender pay gap figures since 2017/18. Some smaller firms do so voluntarily.

This year marked the first time that US-headquartered practices Gensler and HDR were required to publish data (their median pay gaps were 17.3 per cent and 40.1 per cent respectively).

Ryder Architects and PRP did not release data on time, according to the government’s dashboard.

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