RIBA Future Trends Survey results for December 2011

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for December 2011 has revealed that overall confidence concerning future workloads for architects remains fragile. The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index for December 2011 stands at -11, down from -4 in November 2011.

Practices in London and the South East of England prove more optimistic about future demand for services, those in Northern Ireland remain the most pessimistic.

Despite the survey showing levels of certainty remaining delicate it has also revealed that the actual level of work in progress has stabilised in recent months.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index has is -5 compared to -4 in November 2011. Practices located in London are more likely to be recruiting staff during the next quarter than those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

The Survey also reports that the economic climate over recent years has had a disproportionate impact on the numbers of women working in architecture. Since the RIBA started Future Trends Survey in January 2009, it has been monitoring employment levels for women architects. When the survey started women made up 28% of architectural staff in practices in the survey, whilst in December 2011 the figure was 21%.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA Director of Practice, said:

'Our respondents and practices continue to report intense fee competition, restrictions in bank lending and uncertainty over the general economic outlook as their main challenges.

'Of ongoing concern is the disproportionate impact of the recession on employment levels for women working in architecture. The RIBA remains committed to addressing these inequalities through initiatives including the Architects for Change and Women in Architecture groups'


Notes to editors

  • For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office:  020 7307 3761.
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.
  • Completed by a mix of small, medium and large firms based on a geographically representative sample, the RIBA Future Trends Survey was launched in January 2009 to monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
  • The Survey is carried out by the RIBA in partnership with the Fees Bureau. Results of the survey, including a full graphical analysis, are published each month and can be viewed by on the Future Trends Survey pages. 
  • To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email practice@riba.org. The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all returns are independently processed in strict confidence.
  • The definition for the workload balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less. A negative figure means more respondents expect less work than those expecting more work. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index, which for December is -11.
  • The definition for the staffing balance figure is the difference between those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and those expecting to employ fewer. A negative figure means more respondents expect to employ fewer permanent staff. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index, which for December 2011 -5.
  • The RIBA Equality & Diversity Forum 'Architects for Change' (AfC) was established in 2000 to challenge and support the RIBA in developing policies and action that promote improved equality of opportunity and diversity in the architectural profession. Further details
  • Women in Architecture champion the roles of women in architecture and in the built-environment professions. Further information can be found on the Equality and Diversity pages.