AIA Survey Shows Strong Gains in Compensation for Architects

Dec. 23, 2008

WASHINGTON - Prior to the recent downturn in construction activity that is adversely affecting some architecture firms, the nonresidential construction sector had been expanding rapidly in recent years. This helped fuel a nearly 6 percent annual increase in average compensation for architecture positions between 2005 and 2008, the strongest period of growth since the American Institute of Architects (AIA) began collecting compensation information in 1990. 

The 2008 AIA Compensation Survey also noted that compensation gains for architectural staff positions have significantly outpaced compensation gains in the broader economy in recent years. Architect positions saw a 30 percent increase in compensation between 2002 and 2008, more than half again as much as the gains for the private workforce, or for employees at professional and business services firms as measured by U.S. Department of Labor information.

"Compensation gains were fastest for mid-range staff architect and designer positions," says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. "Part of this is based on the heavy demand for architectural services in recent years which helped drive up salaries."

Average Compensation                                2002                2005                2008

Senior design/project management staff         $77,300           $85,800           $98,800

Architect/designers                                      $52,600           $57,700           $71,600

Interns                                                        $35,300           $38,800           $45,400

The complete 2008 AIA Compensation Survey report is free for media and available for purchase through the AIA Bookstore. In the interest of sustainability, the report is available in PDF format only this year. 

About The American Institute of Architects
For more than 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit

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