AIA: New Report Offers Strategies for Addressing Bias in Architecture Profession

by | Dec 9, 2021 | News

AIA and the University of California Hastings College of the Law partnered to study workplace bias.

WASHINGTON – Dec. 9, 2021 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in partnership with the University of California Hastings College of the Law is releasing a new report today that sheds light on the impacts of bias in the workplace. Additionally, the report offers resources that can help move the needle on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the architecture profession.

“This study is intended to start a conversation in firms to disrupt bias,” said AIA President Peter Exley, FAIA. “We recognize that these are difficult conversations, but they are necessary if we are going to make meaningful changes in the profession. This is just one more component in a broad commitment to make strides toward identifying inequities in the profession and to making it more diverse and welcoming to all people.”

Hasting’s independent study includes the experiences, perceptions, and opinions of women, people of color, and other historically resilient and heretofore underrepresented demographic groups within the profession. AIA’s goal in conducting the study is to build awareness in firms of bias to help architects recognize and address issues that may be occurring in firms. The report also provides strategies—specifically bias interrupters—that can help firms address bias in the workplace.

The study was conducted using a workplace experiences survey that was completed by more than 1,340 architectural professionals. The survey focused how bias plays out in the architecture profession; how it affects workplace processes such as hiring and performance evaluations; and how it affects outcome measures such as intent to stay with one’s employer. Hastings also supplemented quantitative data from the survey with qualitative data derived from their one-on-one interviews and focus groups with architects and designers.

AIA has long used research-based strategies to develop programs that address disproportionate demographics in the profession. This study builds on data collected in 2018 to develop AIA’s Guides for Equitable Practice in addition to research conducted for AIA’s 2016 Diversity in the Profession of Architecture Survey, which focused on what architects believe is causing underrepresentation in the profession.

Visit AIA’s website to learn more about the organization’s efforts on equity, diversity and inclusion.