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Salary Report - Architectural Job Movers (North West England)

Matt Kirk Architectural Wages, Architecture in the North, Architeture salaries...

A month or so ago some of you may remember my rant about the RIBA Salary Guide shortly after it was published. If you're not familiar, it may be worth taking a quick look for background. Just to make this clear Aspirants Careers (We used to be called Ardent Careers) is very Northern focussed, and this particular report is based only on North West England data. 

We feel that  a report from December through to May is much better for several reasons. The first being that (if you haven't already) you should be receiving your P60 in the next week or two. The second being that the summer period approaches and though not a rule, it is often a slightly quieter time of year for job moves. This is balanced out nicely by the late September through early November rush.

We're not going to pretend that this is a perfect snapshot of the average salaries across the Northwest. There are several problems with that, the first being that we can only vouch for job movers. The second being that although we operate successfully throughout Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire there is a very heavy Greater Manchester focus. Thirdly we only have the 'positions' some employers are asking agencies to fill. Do they need us to find them a none job runner in a none specific sector using a none specific piece of software...? Not always is the non-committal answer to that! 

The below data is broken down into average salaries across all placements. We have not taken into account potential bonus in any of the data. 

We have stuck rigidly to the starting job titles of Technical staff. So you will for example see a difference between a 'Senior Technician' and a 'Technician', though 'Technician' will include individuals that might be considered as 'Junior' the title 'Junior Technician' does not appear to be in mainstream use. 

We have broken down Architects into Project Running and Non Project Running only. Employers tend to make a distinction between 5+ years PQE (Post Qualification Experience) and -5 years PQE, when what they REALLY mean is simply to make a distinction between project running and non project running (rightly or wrongly). As I will discuss below we also have a much smaller sample of Architects moving jobs. 

Part I, II and III are labelled Non Qualified Architects - for the most part these are Part II's (who needs an Agency to recruit a Part I?) and some Part III's. 

We do not make a distinction between Senior Management moves.  We find the job role differs between title and practice extremely widely, and a Director in one place will be doing the job of an Associate in another, salaries vary in a similar respect. Senior Management encompasses Associate, Associate Director and Director level movers. 

(Salaries are rounded up to the nearest £100. Please note the nature of new salary offers is for the employer to round their offers up to a figure ending in either 500 or 000) 


Average Salary


Senior Architectural Technician 



Architectural Technician 



Project Running Architect



None Project Running Architect



None Qualified Architects 



Senior Management






FYI: The percentage column indicates the percentage of that discpline in relation to the total number of Job Movers in the last 6 months. 

If we just analyse the percentage of movers by discipline for one moment; 55% of all movers are Technicians! When you take technical staff as a whole into account (including Senior Management its closer to 60%). 

Just 13% of movers were Qualified Architects. We certainly do see a much higher Technical requirement in practices than in the past. We rarely don't fill a job we get (eventually anyway), but when we don't it is invariably an Architect, and where I don't believe there is a lack of Architects, I do believe Architects get stuck in project cycles more often, so can only commit to moves in certain small windows. I do not though believe this tells the whole story as to why there are less Architects moving into new roles than other disciplines. When we include 60% of the total Senior Management movers then the overall percentage does go up slightly. 

The Big Winners 

It is clear that if you are a Senior Tech right now it's not such a bad time. You are the highest paid job movers over the past 6 months. You can expect big salary wins of anywhere between 10% - 20% of your current basic salary, more in some isolated cases (Just a trend we are noticing, we won't be able to give the accurate increase until next time now that we are monitoring the data more closely). 

Rightly or wrongly, especially in Manchester itself there is an ever growing tendency over the last 12 months to give the big projects to very experienced Technicians. It is worth noting too that of the 'Associate and above' exactly 40% of job movers were from a Technical background. 

Hang on though! Project Running Architects are winners too! As are None Qualified Architects. When I think back to 2015 / 2016 I often had a fight on my hands to get Architect movers to £40k and that barrier was very real. Now salaries over £40k are much more widespread. When it comes to None Qualified I can't believe the number of individuals who are coming in around £26k! 

Further Analysis 

*The highest paid job movers are Senior Technicians! May be a revelation to some, but I can't say I'm particularly surprised given I've been banging on about it for the last year! We can see the move to give big projects to Techs to manage across the board too, from AJ100's to Mid sized practices; this is a massive recent trend. 

**This figure may be quite skewed. We have made a low number of placements when it comes to None Job Running Architects in general (when compared to other disciplines in the list), and it tends to have been individuals (looking at the small sample) coming from a very small practice background into a mid to large practice environment. One or two particularly low salaries is also skewing this figure for positions that receive a significant bonus. The job movers would have received a significant 'pay rise' though pay is still low in this discipline. 

***This is higher than I would have expected. Looking back across the movers at Part II & III we are looking at a small number of very experienced none qualified individuals who have a similar skillset to a Project Running Architect which brings up the average, but we can also see that very technology proficient (though still relatively inexperienced) individuals are beginning to demand a premium over the last 12 months. It is not just Technology that a Part II / III is prized for though, we are seeing a leaning towards those with a degree of Technical ability too.  

Further Info

I'm also now running a survey the results of which will be published in the next few weeks​ to gain an insight into the average salary of Architectural professionals outside of our own placements. The aim of this survey is not just to get this insight and to compare it our figures, we also want to know whether you have had a bonus or not, whether you FEEL you are underpaid and undervalued and to give you a chance to have your say. We are also gaining an insight into pay rises after none agency moves and insights into expected increase in a job move. So far (since it was posted yesterday evening) we've had an unbelievable number of completed surveys and a lot of individuals who clearly feel passionate about the subject and want to have a say. I'll be including your comments (made to be 100% indiscernible from the individual surveyed) in the results. 

​Finally.... Aspirant Careers is a Specialist Architecture Recruiter. We work predominantly in the North of England. This survey is for the North West only, but we do also now have a very good consultant working Yorkshire and the Northeast. We know and care about our market. We are not the usual recruitment robots! We have just launched a brand new website where you can read more of our thoughts on the industry, find out about everyone who works here and of course look up what jobs we are working on. Soon we will stop advertising through job boards, so if you haven't checked out our website you won't know about all of the jobs in the North of England. 

Feel free to get in touch to discuss this blog post, or if you want to become a #ArchitectureMover (yes I did just create a hashtag)​ through Aspirant, want some advice on anything career related for free or for anything else call:

0161 672 1061 for Matt (North West)
0161 672 1062 for Sarah (North West)
0161 672 1065 for Ed (Yorkshire)