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Maria Eichhold

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  • Housing Summit Committee Meeting
  • Housing Summit Committee Meeting

Women’s Compensation in Architecture

You have been in a job for many years and feel you deserve a higher salary. What do you do?

Women’s Compensation in Architecture

You are on the phone with a new employer and were just offered a new job with a salary under your expectations. Or you have been in a job for many years and feel you deserve a higher salary. What do you do?

The statistics show that you probably will do nothing.  In general, women negotiate salaries only 7% of the time, as opposed to men who negotiate salaries 57% of the time. In addition, women compare negotiating salaries to “going to the dentist” as opposed to men who compare it to “winning a ballgame.”

Knowing some of the struggles women, especially women in architecture face, the AIA Dallas Women in Architecture network hosted an educational component in October’s luncheon to address women’s compensation in architecture.   Jamie Anderson from Vertex Solutions, a local recruiting firm that specializes in placing professionals within the AEC industry in Dallas, offered her insight into compensation trends in the industry, summarized below.

Factors affecting compensation

Licensure and continuing education can greatly influence an increase in salary. Eighty percent of men and women in architecture who have the LEED AP credential experience a 5% increase in salary. Statistics also show that being well-versed in BIM/Revit and being fully licensed can increase a person’s salary 8-10%. An increase in salary above 10% can be justified by taking on a leadership role and/or bringing a client base.

Closing the gap

It’s well known that across the country, men are paid higher salaries on average compared to women. Jamie informed us that in the architecture field, this may be due to the drop in females who are working as well as only the 7% of women in leadership roles. In 2013, the US Department of Labor reported that the number of female architects from ages 25-34 drops drastically when those women fall in the 35-44 age range. In the meantime, the number of male architects ages 35-44 increases significantly, adding to their experience.

Is it all about the money?

When negotiating salary, it’s important to not just look at the dollar sign, but to consider other factors that you value when finding the right work environment. Some of these things include:

  • Work-life balance
  • Location
  • Potential for growth
  • Culture of the firm
  • Project types

Negotiating Salaries

Sometimes the dollar sign is the most important to you. The participants in the luncheon had many questions about negotiating salary.  How can women learn to better negotiate their salary? How do you know what you’re worth? Check out the websites below for additional tips on how to address salary negotiation:

Why Women Must Ask (The Right Way): Negotiation Advice

Why Women Don't Ask For More Money

Don't Ask, Don't Get': How to Fix the Gender Gap in Salary Negotiations

How Women Are Climbing Architecture's Career Ladder