The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) last night announced the launch of a ten-year survey into employment trends for Part 1 architecture graduates and revealed initial results from a pilot phase of the study completed earlier this year.
The RIBA Student Destinations Survey, a joint project run in partnership with the University of Sheffield, has been set up to learn more about the professional career path of post Part 1 graduates, and monitor the impact of changes to higher education including rising tuition fees.
Results of the pilot study were unveiled at the RIBA's Tough Times student forum hosted by the President at the RIBA on 21 June. This event formed part of the Institute's consultation process with students, members and charteredpractices to review appropriate rates of pay for students and graduates, and discuss issues including regional variations in salaries.
Pilot survey results reveal that in early 2011, 73 per cent of post Part 1 students were in paid employment, 78 per cent of which were working within architecture. Students raised concerns about the difficulty in remaining in architecture for all or most of their career, with an overwhelming 94 per cent of respondents believing that paid employment opportunities in architecture were 'difficult to find'. 17 per cent of students had found architectural work outside of the UK.
97 per cent of respondents agreed when asked whether they were glad they chose to study architecture at university, and 71 per cent of respondents said that the issue of student debt had not influenced their career path. However, the survey also indicated that parental support played an important part in architectural education, with 32 per cent of those undertaking further study funded through family support in the form of a trust fund, inheritance or allowance. 55 per cent of respondents had to work during their degree to manage financially. Men were also more likely to be working in architecture (82 per cent compared to 71 per cent of women); however differences in ethnicity did not at this stage appear to be having any significant impact on the responses.
"Higher education sector is in a period of profound change particularly as a result of the impending rise in tuition fees. Given the length of the course to qualification, students of architecture are likely to bear the full brunt of a substantial increase in course costs," said Ruth Reed, President of RIBA.
"The RIBA's Student Destinations Survey is an important long term exercise that will over the next decade and will provide additional evidence about the health and happiness of our architecture students. The RIBA is doing all it can to ensure that the architects' profession is fully accessible to all students with ability and potential regardless of their background. There is much more to do if we are to secure an improvement in these results during the course of the study".