Companies with at least 250 UK employees are legally required to submit gender pay gap information, in reality the majority of architectural practices are smaller than this so are not obliged to do so, but some, including ourselves, have elected to do so voluntarily.
The results are summarised below and available online at-
In this organisation, women earn £1.16 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay. Their median hourly pay is 15.6% higher than men’s.
When comparing mean (average) hourly pay, women’s mean hourly pay is 9.5% higher than men’s.
In this organisation, women occupy 65.5% of the highest paid jobs and 0% of the lowest paid jobs.
65.5% of the upper hourly pay quarter (highest paid) are women, 34.5% of the upper hourly pay quarter (highest paid) are men
65.5% of the upper middle hourly pay quarter are women, 34.5% of the upper middle hourly pay quarter are men
34.5% of the lower middle hourly pay quarter are women, 65.5% of the lower middle hourly pay quarter are men
0% of the lower hourly pay quarter (lowest paid) are women 100%
In this organisation, women earn £1 for every £1 that men earn when comparing median bonus pay. Their median bonus pay is 0% lower than men’s.
When comparing mean (average) bonus pay, women’s mean bonus pay is 0% lower than men’s.
Who received bonus pay-
60% of women
60% of men
A 2020 survey by the Architects’ Journal revealed that women in architecture in the UK earn an average of £8,000 less than their male counterparts. This pay gap is typically attributed to the underrepresentation of women in senior and partnership positions.
Additionally, there is evidence that the pay gap is more pronounced in larger practices, with the survey finding that women in practices with more than 50 staff earn an average of £13,000 less than their male counterparts. Reducing the gender pay gap in UK architecture is a complex challenge, but initiatives such as the Architects’ Journal’s Women in Architecture campaign and initiatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects to promote gender equality can help to address the issue.
We are delighted that we sit within the very small group of architectural practices that don’t have a male to female gender pay gap, but we think that the method of reporting throws up some wider questions.
A further article in the Architects’ Journal’s from April 2022 concluded that the 2022 figures show little change since reporting began in 2017.
Gender Pay Gap reporting does not factor in Partner’s remuneration for Partnership’s or Limited Liability Partnership’s or who owns shares in a Limited Company.
As such both give rise to a “false” presentation of a practices true gender pay gap, which in reality could be much worse than the Gender Pay Gap criteria suggest.
BB Partnership is an Employee-Owned Company with 100% of the shares owned by a trust for the benefit of all employees, not only does this mean that none of the companies profits are going to external shareholders it also means that any employee can grow within the practice and become a director without the need to purchase shares therefore removing the barrier to career advancement.
Whilst, our numbers look positive from all angles, perhaps rather than look at the headline figure the more relevant questions should be-
This gives a much clearer indication as to if the glass ceiling has been broken, especially where the directors are shareholders or partners as their dividends or partners remuneration is not included in gender pay gap calculations.
Of the three directors at BB Partnership two are women.
This shows how many women occupy senior roles, and therefore gives a better indicator as to the true picture of gender equality within the practice.
At 100% employee-owned companies such as BB Partnership there is no need for staff to buy shares to join the board, new directors are appointed on merit alone.
Whilst no scoring system is perfect, Gender Pay Gap reporting is a useful tool and shows that sadly there is a significant problem within the Architectural sector that has not greatly improved since the system was introduced.
It is also important to consider where a desire to improve the headline score could actually discriminate against women. For example if a practice is recruiting Part I or Part II assistants in the early and lower paid stages of their careers then the gender of these incoming staff members will affect the headline hourly pay gap.
For instance if a practice with a gender pay gap between men and women employs a new male member of staff then the gender pay gap will reduce, but if they employ a woman then it would actually get worse.
As such I would suggest that the important figures are the number of women employed in senior positions and more importantly the number of women directors.