The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for December 2011 has revealed that overall confidence concerning future workloads for architects remains fragile. The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index for December 2011 stands at -11, down from -4 in November 2011.
Practices in London and the South East of England prove more optimistic about future demand for services, those in Northern Ireland remain the most pessimistic. Despite the survey showing levels of certainty remaining delicate it has also revealed that the actual level of work in progress has stabilised in recent months.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index has is -5 compared to -4 in November 2011. Practices located in London are more likely to be recruiting staff during the next quarter than those in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The Survey also reports that the economic climate over recent years has had a disproportionate impact on the numbers of women working in architecture. Since the RIBA started Future Trends Survey in January 2009, it has been monitoring employment levels for women architects. When the survey started women made up 28% of architectural staff in practices in the survey, whilst in December 2011 the figure was 21%.
"Our respondents and practices continue to report intense fee competition, restrictions in bank lending and uncertainty over the general economic outlook as their main challenges," commented Adrian Dobson, RIBA Director of Practice. "Of ongoing concern is the disproportionate impact of the recession on employment levels for women working in architecture. The RIBA remains committed to addressing these inequalities through initiatives including the Architects for Change and Women in Architecture groups."