Architects in SA - A view from the census

7 February 2016

Architects in SA – A View from the Census is the first report on the Australian architectural profession to look at census data over time.

The report is part of the SA State of the Profession research project. Undertaken by Gill Matthewson, it is based in customised data from the 2001, 2006 and 2011 censuses. This data this helps articulate and indicate broad patterns. These are explained by Gill as follows:

The first pattern is that architects are increasing their presence in the community in relative numbers. Curiously, as a group, architects are getting both older and younger, with mid-career/aged architects seeming to not keep pace with the other age groups. The growth of younger architects can be perhaps explained by the increasing numbers of graduates, however the reasons for what might be happening for those older are less clear.

Architects are increasingly employees and employers rather than independent workers. This may reflect the increasing complexity of buildings and the need for teams to work on them, although the data is a little too variable because the method for categorising employers and independent workers in the Census has recently changed. Of interest, in 2011 architects seemed to be working less long hours than they used to. While this might indicate a greater work–life balance, the still weak representation of women in the profession might indicate otherwise. This is particularly so for South Australia, which lags behind the rest of the country in terms of the representation of women architects.

The Census data strongly indicates that architecture is very dependent on the economy. South Australia is one of the smaller states in the nation and has a consequent smaller number of architects. However, even on a per capita basis, its numbers of architects are less than Australia as a whole. This may suggest that the state’s economy is not able to support architecture firms to the extent that other states can. The lower income levels also support this interpretation for architects in South Australia.

Overall, South Australia’s architecture profession is growing but is not in as strong a position as that in some of the larger states.

Download the full report here.

Architects in SA

The ACA has commissioned Gill to develop similar reports for other Australian states. Together these reports will comprise a valuable addition to our understanding of the architecture profession in South Australia.

The next census will be conducted this year. The ACA hopes to update these reports when new data is available.