Image: From the Building Article: Low-Paid architect jobs: An offer you can refuse
The construction press is hyperventilating at the moment about an email that a London firm of Architects allegedly sent an unemployed ‘Part II architect’ (i.e. a part qualified masters level applicant). You can read the email on Building’s Website here and also in BD.
The articles I have read so far have focused on the outrage, the potential illegality and the loss of talent that may result from such practices as asking a highly qualified employee to work a 70 hour week for £400.
But I think there’s something more important at stake here, if we’re going to get rid of the long hours, low paid culture that has blighted our profession for so long. And it’s not to do with the employee either; it’s to do with the employer.
Here’s what I wrote in response to the building article:
I run a practice of architects that does not subscribe to the long working hours culture, but it is prevalent in the profession. I remember on graduating with Part I in 1989 (when the last recession was well on the way) I was offered a year out post in London which only paid travel expenses.
The reason why architects stoop to such crass and sometimes illegal tactics such as those set out above is that they are either 1) not in control of their finances or 2) willing to abuse empoyees.
As most architects in the UK are more poorly paid than most other construction professionals, I believe that the likely answer is 1).
If architects were able to
- identify the service they provide and the value of it;
- price it appropriately and negotiate a good deal;
- work efficiently and manage ‘mission creep’; and
- recover fees efficiently,
then they wouldn’t have to decend to abusing their employees like this.
Don’t blame the recession, look at what you can do to make more money.