The RIBA’s monthly Future Trends Survey was launched in January 2009 to
monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
Participants give monthly predictions for overall workload and staffing levels
over the next three months, and are also asked about their workload predictions
in key sectors: private housing, commercial, community and public sector. Practices
are also asked on a quarterly basis about their current workload and staffing
levels. The Survey is carried out by the RIBA in partnership with the Fees Bureau.
The following is a summary analysis of the results from the
April 2013 Survey returns.
Future workload (April 2013)
How do you expect the architectural workload in the organisation you work in or own to change over the next three months?
|Stay the same
(The definition for the balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less.)
The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell back slightly in April
2013 to +16, down from +19 in March 2013. This is the first fall in our key
monthly workload indicator since November 2012, but it remains firmly in
positive territory. Actual year-on-year workloads remain stable overall. Large
practices (51+ staff) reported a 5% annual increase, but there is real no sign
of a sustained upturn in total work in progress for architects at present.
Large practices (51+ staff) continued to be the most optimistic
about future workloads, but all size categories of practices returned positive
workload forecast balance figures.
In terms of geographical analysis, all the nations and regions in
the UK except for Northern Ireland and Wales and the West returned positive
balance figures this month.
The following graph plots the RIBA Future Workload Index over time:
In terms of sector forecasts, the private housing sector forecast
fell back marginally in April 2013 (balance figure +16) from its March 2013
level (balance figure +17), as did the commercial sector forecast (balance
figure +3, down from +6 in March). The public sector forecast (balance figure
-6) and the community sector forecast (balance figure -9) both saw somewhat
The following graph tracks the sector predictions in the RIBA Future Trends
Survey over time:
Future staffing levels (April 2012)
How do you think the number of permanent architectural staff employed in your organisation will change over the next three months?
|Stay the same
(The definition for the balance figure is the difference between
those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and
those expecting to employ fewer.)
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index increased a little in April
2013, rising to +2 and again entering positive territory. Reported overall
actual staffing levels are stable, but practices remain cautious about taking on
additional permanent staff. They remain slightly more confident about employing
additional temporary staff to meet workload requirements.
Large practices (51+ staff) and medium-sized practices (11 – 50
staff) remain more confident about being able to increase their staffing levels
during the next quarter than small practices.
In April 2013, the percentage of our respondents reporting that
they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 29%, up from 26%
The following graph plots the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index over time:
The anecdotal commentary we receive continues to paint a very
mixed picture, with some practices reporting an increase in enquiries and
commissions, but others commenting that the market remains intensively
competitive. Whilst there are some positive signs and confidence levels have
improved, the outlook seems to remain uncertain beyond a three month timeline
for many practices.
The RIBA Future Trends Survey is based on a representative
sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations which
enables analysis of the trends in sectors, size groups and by nation and region.
A total of 213 practices took part in the Survey in April 2013. The development of a larger database
of respondents will increase the statistical accuracy of the survey, and if
your practice would like to participate in future months, please contact the
RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all
returns are independently processed in strict confidence by our partners the