2023 Salary Survey findings
The 2023 ACA National Salary Survey Report is out now, with detailed analysis by Lindy Osborne Burton and Sarah Bartle. See a summary of the findings below and download the full report in the member-only section.
The report by QUT Associate Professor Lindy Osborne Burton and Sarah Bartle outlines the broad trends identified this year and compares these to the results from previous surveys. The full report is published in the members’ section below and is available to ACA members. Dr Gill Matthewson created the original Salary Survey report in 2013 and ongoing salary reports from 2013 to 2018. Lindy Osborne Burton has completed Salary Survey Reports for 2019, 2022 and 2023. A summary of the 2023 findings follows.
The ACA National Salary Survey gathers data on thirty-one different roles within architectural practice. In addition to architectural staff, salary information is gathered for technicians, interior designers and other staff ranging from reception and clerical positions to chief executive officers. Details on salary packages and conditions and geographic location are also collected.
This Salary Survey is the only independent survey of salaries within the profession of architecture in Australia, except for those of recruitment companies. It provides significant longitudinal knowledge of workplace conditions.
The 2023 Survey attracted responses from a sample size of 137 architectural practices across Australia. There were 98 fewer participating practices with 8.39% fewer staff than the 2022 Survey. For the purposes of survey analysis, these fluctuations are not considered to be of significant concern, as the research analysis typically utilises percentages and averages rather than exact numbers, to provide accurate comparisons and analysis between different data sets.
It is worth noting that this decrease was not evenly distributed among the staff categories. The Technician survey numbers decreased by 44.12%, thus impacting the longitudinal data comparisons most significantly, whilst Other Staff had a smaller decrease of 4.27%. Overall, the majority of individuals surveyed fell under the category of Architectural Staff (n=1,878), followed by Other Staff (n=269). The pattern of responses from different practices impacted the number of staff represented in the survey.
The survey responses indicated a dominance of practices employing 3 to 9 people, surpassing other practice sizes. Notably, this practice size category also exhibited the highest response rate consistently from 2015 to 2023. In the 2023 Survey, a decreased number of surveyed practices was observed compared to the last two surveys, with the exception of the 30 to 49 practice size, which provided an increased response rate.
The 2023 Survey deviated from past trends by showcasing diversified responses for the majority of the practice sizes, and a significantly smaller representation of practices in the 1 to 2 size category, which reversed the previous ascending trend.
Male and female staff data was collected to measure potential impact of gender on salaries. However, there was also an avenue put in place for practices with non-binary staff to have the opportunity to provide additional anonymous reporting to the ACA.
The highest proportion of Survey responses came from the most populous states, namely Victoria (30%), Queensland (23%) and New South Wales (18%). However, it is worth mentioning that there was a significant reduction in New South Wales responses, with less than half the number that responded to the 2022 Survey.
The 2023 Survey shows that 8% of All Staff were in regional areas (a significant decline from 20% in 2022), and 92% were located in Australian capital cities. Proportionately, this shows a 12% reduction of All Staff in regional areas, and a 12% increase in the capital cities, when compared to 2022.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH SALARIES?
The comprehensive analysis of data spanning from 2019 to 2023 provides robust empirical evidence of an increase in median salaries across eight of the nine architectural positions in the year 2023. Although the extent of this growth differs within each of the nine positions, there is a collective average increase of 2.5% between 2022 and 2023, and a 10.72% over the four-year period spanning from 2019 to 2023. See the Report for a detailed breakdown.
Key findings from this year are as follows:
- Resilience and recovery: Generally, salaries for all staff have been steadily increasing since 2019. Additionally, the pay gap between the highest and lowest earners in most roles has decreased over the past year.
- Size steers salaries: Similar to the 2022 report, larger practices tend to offer higher pay rates in 2023, particularly in senior and director/principal positions.
- Geographical impact: Practices located on the east coast of Australia generally offer the highest salaries.
- Salary gaps: Salaries within role categories show significant differences. On average, the highest-paid architectural staff earn just over twice the salary of the lowest-paid architectural staff (excluding students).
- Dividing disparities: There remains a gender pay gap among Architectural Staff. While there is gender parity in salaries and numbers among Graduates (up to two years’ experience), the percentage of female Architectural Staff and their salaries start to decline after three years, when compared to their male colleagues with similar experience. Men continue to dominate in the senior positions and larger practices, both in terms of the percentage of roles held and with higher salaries.
- Perks and pluses: The primary benefit provided to staff is an annual bonus. Most practices do not offer financial support for professional registration or memberships. While the number of practices offering benefits has increased marginally in 2023, it still accounts for just over 40% of practices.
The full 2023 National Salary Survey report is available to ACA members. Members can log in below to access it. If you are not already a member, you can find out more about joining the ACA here.
If you are not eligible to be a member, or are a researcher, journalist or other media representative interested to read the report, please contact us to enquire about obtaining a copy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SALARY SURVEY WEBINAR
QUT’s Lindy Osborne Burton unpacks the key findings of the 2023 Salary Survey Report in a CPD webinar, now available to view as a video recording on demand. Hear the latest trends in different roles, different practice sizes, the gender pay gap, and more. To access the webinar, head to the relevant booking page.