In a 1998 AIA survey, approximately 30% of firms indicated that less than
half the interns they had hired over the previous five years stayed for a
full year. A separate 1999 survey showed that half of the interns surveyed
had changed employment over the previous year. Respondents indicated that
better compensation and professional advancement were the usual reasons for
leaving, while a change in practice focus, an improved quality of life, and
the opportunity to do more design work were also typical reasons for
changing jobs. However, among all interns, firm location was by far the
most important factor in selecting a firm, followed by reputation, practice
emphasis, and compensation/benefits.
This month’s ArchVoices Supplement focuses on resources for young architects
searching for new jobs within traditional practice–although our first
selection heralds the approach of a time when there may be no "traditional"
practice. We wish you luck and continued professional satisfaction in
whatever you pursue.
1. Career Opportunities for the Third Millennium
2. The IDP Process: Getting Started
3. Salary Negotiations
4. Compensation at U.S. Architecture Firms: 1999 AIA Report
5. Employee Benefits at Architecture Firms
6. Akropolis.net: Directing Employers to You
7. ARchitecture Career Help (ARCH) Network
8. Job Search Resources
9. Job Search Web Sites
10. Relocating? Estimate Your New City’s Cost of Living with Homefair.com
11. Book Release: Almanac of Architecture & Design
Career Opportunities for the Third Millennium
The twenty-first century will offer career opportunities that may boggle
even the most dedicated career counselor, says Drexel University sociologist
Art Shostak (http://www.futureshaping.org). High schoolers of the new
millennium may have to seek the advice of "opportunity counselors."
"Those in their teens in 2000 can expect to choose among entirely new
vocations, as in lunar base and space satellite jobs, virtual reality
specialization, e-commerce, robotics, and ‘high touch’ areas, the latter
including all of the performing arts and other antidotes to the ‘high tech’
obsession of the times," says Shostak, co-founder of the World Future
Society’s Philadelphia chapter.
Advances in biotechnology may create esoteric, interdisciplinary jobs
combining biology, chemistry, planning, ethics, and business knowledge.
Wealthy families will want more personal, at-home services such as care for
the children and elderly, which will increase opportunities in those career
areas. Finally, "Women are likely to find the early twenty-first century
richer in life choice opportunities than any previous epoch," Shostak
Visit the World Future Society Web site at the address listed above for the
The IDP Process: Getting Started
IDP is required in almost every state for professional registration. States
that don’t currently require IDP, but soon will, are Washington (2001) and
Vermont (2002). Arizona, California, and Missouri have yet to approve any
transition to requiring a formal IDP training program (source: NCARB Web
To benefit most from IDP, you should start participation at the beginning of
your first acceptable employment. If you have graduated but not yet
established an IDP file and begun documenting your work experience, visit
http://www.ncarb.org/forms/req_idp.html right now and request an application
packet. While IDP itself may seem onerous and time-consuming, any
frustration is only compounded by having to verify previous work history,
particularly if you have changed jobs. Additionally, many states have
limits on the amount of previous work that will qualify.
When considering employment options and documenting IDP activity, you should
understand your registration board’s conditions governing training.
Training conditions govern not only whether IDP training units can be
recorded, but also the training categories in which training units can be
recorded. For example, training acquired under the daily supervision of a
registered architect can be recorded in all IDP training categories;
however, training acquired under the daily supervision of an interior
designer or contractor can only be recorded in IDP Training Categories C
(Management) and D (Related Activities).
Be sure to check out NCARB’s conditions governing IDP training. (see
Appendix L of IDP Guidelines). You should compare your board’s training
conditions with the NCARB conditions. Where differences exist, you must
first comply with your board’s conditions; however, compliance with the
NCARB conditions is recommended to facilitate future registration in other
Visit http://www.ncarb.org/forms/req_idp.html to request an IDP information
packet online, or call the Customer Service Division at 202/879-0520.
Many young people do not feel comfortable discussing salaries with potential
employers or think salaries are predetermined. Employers often refer to the
salaries of current employees, saying that they cannot pay you more than
established employees. Although it may be more difficult to negotiate some
salaries, with research and practice, you can learn to approach a salary
negotiation with confidence.
Successful and realistic salary negotiations embrace five principles based
on the knowledge that the salary you begin a job with reflects your value to
an organization and typically determines future salary increases:
1. Display of self-confidence;
2. Preparation through research;
3. Recognition of your needs and the employer’s;
4. Calculated timing; and
5. Communication and evaluation.
It is crucial during the interview phase to express self-confidence. It is
also crucial to display and truly feel such confidence when it comes time to
discuss salaries. Know yourself. Know what you want. Know what you
deserve. How do you know? Research. Research. Research.
You will need to spend some time researching your market value. Such
information is available through trade journals, trade associations,
professionals in the field, career counselors and various periodic reference
manuals available in your local library. Once you know the current salary
range for the type and level of job you are seeking—which often also varies
according to region–you then have more leverage with which to negotiate.
Recognition of Needs
To determine your financial needs, start by making a list of your basic
monthly expenses. This should serve as a bottom line for any salary. Next,
determine how much salary you think you deserve. To do this, you should
list your skill level, salary history, work history, educational background,
and other areas that make you marketable to an employer (language, computer
Equally important are the needs of your employer. The employer, initially,
values the position he or she is trying to fill much more than he or she
values the interviewee. Keeping this in mind, it is up to you to prove your
value being equal to or exceeding the value the employer places on the
position. Thoughtful probing during the interview can help you determine
the employer’s value of the job.
As a rule, salary should never be discussed before an offer has been
extended. A job offer opens the line for salary discussion and possible
negotiation. If an employer asks you during an interview about your salary
interest, pleasantly avoid discussion with a sincere response such as, "I’m
certain you will offer the best possible salary based on my value to the
organization." By answering the question you run the high risk of being
screened out by mentioning a salary too high. It happens as well that
interviewees mention too low a salary to the point where the employer thinks
the person doesn’t understand the work load, the company or their own
Communication and Evaluation
In most cases, the discussion should be initiated by the employer. Once the
employer opens the discussion, it’s time for you to professionally address
the issue based on your research. One such way to address the issue
assertively, but thoughtfully, is by saying something like, "Well, from my
research over the past few months, I’ve figured that a person with my
qualifications in a position similar to this is paid anywhere from
$25-28,000 a year. What can you do in that range?"
If an employer is unable to meet your salary request, perhaps he or she can
increase the compensation package. Sometimes the perks can far outweigh the
extra $5,000/year increase you requested. Benefits could include: extensive
training (only 31% of firms report having an established intern program);
subsidized continuing education; health and life insurance; contributions to
retirement accounts; guaranteed upward movement in the company; an expense
account; profit sharing; travel; professional memberships; vacation;
relocation expenses; bonuses for performance; and/or holiday perks.
This article was excerpted without any permission from the Career Resource
Manual, published in 1997 by the United States Peace Corps—visit
http://www.peacecorps.gov for further general career information.
Compensation at U.S. Architecture Firms: 1999 AIA Report
After several years of modest gains, compensation at U.S. architecture firms
has increased significantly in recent years. The average starting salary
for a young architect in her first year (Intern I) is $28,300. That number
varies greatly depending on which region of the country you are in, and the
regional salary breakdowns can be viewed online at the address above.
With one or two years of experience (Intern II), a young architect averages
$33,500. Incidentally, a separate (and smaller) AIA survey on internship
revealed salary differences by gender–$35,400 for males; $33,100 for
females–and by ethnicity–Asians: $34,900; Caucasians: $34,700; Hispanics:
$33,600; and African Americans: $32,900.
Position Average Salary
All Architects $58,800
Architect I $41,100
All Interns $35,200
Intern III $40,700
Intern II $33,500
Intern I $28,300
Architect I – Recently licensed architect, with 3 to 5 years of experience;
responsible for particular parts of a project with parameters set by others.
Intern III – Unlicensed architecture school graduate in four or more years
Intern II – Unlicensed architecture school graduate in second or third years
Intern I – Entry-level unlicensed architecture school graduate in first year
of internship; develops design or technical solutions under supervision of
Contact Pradeep Dalal, AIA Economics and Market Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 202/626-7354 for more information.
Employee Benefits at Architecture Firms
Many young people seeking employment focus too much attention on the salary
figure alone and do not consider benefits an important part of a new
contract. Following are some additional statistics from the 1999 AIA
Compensation Survey to help guide and support you in negotiations.
Over the past decade there has been a significant increase in benefits
offered by architecture firms. Virtually all firms (95%) currently provide
full or partial medical insurance to their employees, up from less than
two-thirds of firms at the beginning of the decade. Of firms that provide
coverage, 80% report paying 100% of premiums for medical and life insurance
coverage for their employees.
Larger firms continue to offer a fuller range of benefits than small firms.
While only 20% of firms with 2 to 4 employees offer dental coverage, this
benefit is offered by 84% of firms with 50 or more employees. Meanwhile,
three-quarters of midsize firms (10-19 employees) and almost all large firms
(93%) offer retirement savings or profit-sharing plans, such as 401(k).
Additionally, 86% of all firms report having paid cash bonuses to employees
The average number of days of paid leave at firms (excluding holidays) is 18
days, unchanged from the 1996 survey. While the average number of vacation
days and sick days has increased slightly, to 11 and 6 respectively, the
average number of personal days has declined to only one day.
Contact Pradeep Dalal, AIA Economics and Market Research, at email@example.com
or call 202/626-7354 for more information.
Akropolis.net: Directing Employers to You
Promote yourself by taking advantage of the free online Profile/Portfolios
or Web sites available only through Akropolis.net. Akropolis is an
international, online showcase of design and building industry firms,
professionals, and students. From the Akropolis.net "visual" search engine,
potential employers can find you.
A Profile/Portfolio with Akropolis includes you in their new,
state-of-the-art JobCenter (coming Spring/Summer 2000).
Preview: Akropolis Profile/Portfolios:
Preview: Akropolis Web Sites:
Akropolis will be presenting in booth #1441, a member booth of the "Golf
Challenge" at the AIA National Convention in Philadelphia; visit Akropolis
and swing-to-win a Mercedes Benz!
Contact David Konwiser, Director of Client Development, via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free at 877/AKROPOLIS (257-6765) for more
ARchitecture Career Help (ARCH) Network
The ARCH Network was established in 1994 to encourage the career development
of architecture students; to serve as a clearinghouse for the sharing of
information and resources on the topic; and to promote cooperation amongst
members of the network.
The membership consists of over 150 individuals within centralized career
centers, academic units of architecture, and others at over 100 institutions
including almost 100 accredited U.S. and Canadian programs in architecture.
To facilitate a discussion amongst its members, a listserve is maintained
via the Web site above. Please be advised that this listserve is for career
counselors themselves, not individual job hunters.
ArchVoices would like to thank the ARCH Network for providing many of the
job search and Web site resources listed below to our readers.
Additionally, a lengthy article by ARCH Network founder Lee Waldrep may be
viewed at http://www.onelist.com/files/archvoices. Perhaps the single best
recommendation from this group of university-based career counselors is to
continue to utilize your academic institution(s) for career help even though
you may have graduated years ago; likewise, extend yourself as a resource to
Contact Lee Waldrep, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, College of
Architecture, IIT, at email@example.com or call 312/567-8835 for more
Job Search Resources
Believe it or not, local chapters of the American Institute of Architects
are a great source for job searching. Some chapters have Web sites with job
postings while others have links to firms in their area. In addition, many
chapters have hard copies of their membership similar to ProFile; finally,
attending meetings and events is a great opportunity to interact with local
practitioners. Find contact information for your local chapter at
Regardless of whether you are a student or graduate, contact your
university’s career center for assistance on your resume, cover letters, and
interviewing. Also, your academic unit may have a list of firms who have
contacted your school and a listing of employment opportunities posted on a
bulletin board or the college’s Web site. Many alumni centers may also
provide you with a list of alumni in your desired area of the country for
making initial contacts.
If you believe that the key to job searching is networking, then be sure to
contact all of your friends, family, professors, and classmates for possible
leads. Amazingly, everyone you meet is a possible lead to your next
Again, another helpful resource is a library, either the local public
library or your school’s library; more than the library, your best friend is
a reference librarian. Both can help you research firms, locate critical
information for your job search, and direct you to resources that you may
now know existed.
Pick up a copy of Architecture magazine, AIArchitect, Architectural Record,
Crit, or some other professional journals, and read them cover to cover.
Editorials. Letters. Ads. Articles. Cut lines under pictures. Everything!
Each time you do this, you will inevitably come up with a list of
interesting, dynamic, firms or firm principals to contact about job
opportunities. If a job seeker reads the 3 most recent issues cover to
cover as I’ve suggested, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a very good
"hit list" of firms to contact. And it’s a great door opener to say, "I
read your letter to the editor and was in complete agreement with the point
you made. You’re the kind of person I’d like as a mentor."
Job Search Web Sites
Akropolis.net — http://www.akropolis.net
The Internet community for architecture, design, and construction. (see item
The American Institute of Architects — http://www.e-architect.com/
Select Career Resources from the homepage to find access to job listings,
career advice, and the opportunity to post your resume. You may also share
your thoughts or ask questions via the iTalk forums.
AIA Minnesota Web site — http://www.aia-mn.org/jobbank.htm
Twin Cities Job Bank; requires log-in for no particular reason.
AIA San Francisco — http://www.aiasf.org/architect/jobboard.asp
Includes both job board and firm profiles.
AIAS National Web site — http://www.aiasnatl.org/index_IO.html
Post resumes and create online portfolios; links to Akropolis.net.
ArchitectJobs.com — http://www.architectjobs.com/
Architectjobs.com offers job seekers the opportunity to search for jobs,
post your resume or confidential career profile, take an anonymous salary
survey, see salary survey results, contact recruitment firms, and more.
Architects Online — http://architectsonline.com/
New England based Internet resource for architecture, interior design, and
Architectural Record —
Professional and faculty position job board.
Boston Society of Architects — http://www.architects.org/classified.html
Classified ads for the Boston area. Many are for advanced levels of skill,
but may provide clues as to which firms are hiring.
Career Magazine — http://www.careermag.com/
An online career magazine in which you can get helpful articles on job
searching techniques and talk to recruiters.
Career Mosaic — http://www.careermosaic.com/cm/
An Internet job board searchable by typing in keywords.
A series of links of job search related Web sites for architecture.
DesignArchitecture.com — http://www.designarchitecture.com/jobs/
Post resumes, view resumes, link to job opportunities, and more.
Design Intelligence —
Home of the unique Career Posting Search Engine.
Harvard Graduate School of Design — http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/career/
Substantial listing of potential employers and employees in the Boston area,
events listings, and more. Site notes “restricted to Harvard students and
Job-hunt.org — http://www.job-hunt.org
The job hunter’s super list, where you will find thousands of Web sites
selected and organized to help you in your online job search.
ProFile on the Web — http://www.cmdg.com/profile/
A search engine for locating architecture firms and businesses in the United
States. It is derived from the complete ProFile database and ProFile, the
Architects Sourcebook, published by Construction Market Data (CMD).
Texas Tech University — http://www.arch.ttu.edu/Architecture/job.htm
General postings of design internship opportunities.
University of Arkansas — http://comp.uark.edu/%7Earchhome/archindex.html
Online job board and detailed firm descriptions.
UC Berkeley — http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ENVI/jobs.html
Job Hunting in Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture is a
selectively annotated guide to help job seekers in the professions of city &
regional planning, architecture, and landscape architecture. The guide
highlights the most useful items currently available at UC Berkeley for
finding information you need to job hunt, research prospective employers,
create resumes and portfolios, interview for a job, or negotiate your
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign – http://www.arch.uiuc.edu/placement
University-wide Job Placement Office.
University of Maryland —
Great listing of design career resource books.
University of Miami — http://www.arc.miami.edu/
Online job board.
University of Minnesota —
Twin Cities Job Bank coordinated by the College of Architecture and
University of Virginia — http://www.virginia.edu/~a-ocpp
Office of Career Planning and Placement, job listings.
Relocating? Estimate Your New City’s Cost of Living with Homefair.com
For those of you contemplating a move to a new city or area, this is a Web
site that can help you get a grasp on how the cost of living is different
from place to place. It is run by a real estate group and is updated
quarterly. For example, a young architect making $33,500 in Houston needs to
make $37,500 in Los Angeles to maintain the same cost of living. This
information is invaluable in salary negotiations and comprehensive career
Book Release: Almanac of Architecture & Design
The Greenway Group in conjunction with CMD Group announces the publication
of the Almanac of Architecture & Design 2000 — the first reference book of
its kind in the industry.
Designed to be a valuable research tool for architects, landscape
architects, interior and industrial designers, and enthusiasts, the 600-page
almanac contains 13 chapters of vital and timely information about the
field, including information on awards and honors; a calendar of competition
deadlines and conference dates; listing of the noted individuals in the
design professions; need to know historic preservation facts; design museums
worldwide; architecture and design bookstores; industry journals and
magazines; latest records, rankings and achievements; comprehensive
directory of design colleges & universities; guide to registration laws;
listing of the 250 leading architecture firms; recent obituaries of design
leaders; worldwide design organizations and associations; best buildings of
the 20th century; architecture student demographics; top 15 schools for
architecture and interior design; benchmark firm rankings; and over 75 other
categories of need to know information. With a foreword by Pulitzer Prize
winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger of the New Yorker, the Almanac
of Architecture and Design is carefully researched and edited by industry
The $34.95 Almanac of Architecture and Design is available through
bookstores worldwide or directly from the Greenway Group. To order, call
800/726-8603 or 770/209-3770.
The answer, in a nutshell, is:
Thru your research
And then thru your contacts.
– R. Bolles