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Architects' confidence dips in February's RIBA Future Trends

RIBA Future Trends February 2016

28 March 2017

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends workload index dipped in February, falling from +24 in January to +16.

London-based practices were again cautious about future workloads (balance figure +10), along with those in the South (+3). Practices in the North of England remained the most optimistic (increasing to +38), with Wales and the West also positive (+22).

Practices of all sizes reported a dip in workload expectations but medium-sized practices (11–50 staff) saw the most dramatic decline in the workload index (falling from +50 in January to +17 in February).

The private housing sector forecast increased slightly to +23. Forecasts for both the public sector and community sector stood in negative territory; the commercial sector outlook fell slightly but remained positive.

The RIBA Future Trends staffing index increased marginally to +9 in February (up from +8 in January); 7% of practices expect to employ fewer staff in three months’ time.

Medium-sized practices were again the most confident about retaining or increasing existing staff levels (balance figure +31), followed by large (+14) and small practices (+6). 5% of practices reported staff redundancies as a result of the EU referendum outcome.

RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said:

“Despite several years of growth in demand for architectural services, competition is intense with many practices still experiencing low fee levels. However, with a majority of practices expecting to sustain and grow staffing levels over the next quarter, the employment market for salaried architects remains healthy.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact:

    Callum Reilly
    020 7307 3757
  2. 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.
  3. The Future Trends 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
  4. 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 February 2017 was +16.
  5. 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 February 2017 was +9.
  6. To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all returns are independently processed in strict confidence.
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.

    Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates

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