The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the latest Future Trends survey results, a monthly report of the business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
In February 2022 the overall RIBA Future Trends Workload Index grew by five points to +23, and all sectors, practice sizes and regions demonstrated a positive outlook.
Looking ahead to the coming three months, 32% of practices expect workloads to increase, 58% expect them to stay the same and only 10% expect them to decrease.
For the first time since the pandemic began, all sectors were positive. The private housing sector climbed three points to +23, the commercial sector rose to +10 and both the public sector and community sector increased slightly to +1.
Practices of all sizes remained confident about future workloads. Small practices (1 – 10 staff) returned a positive balance figure of +18 and large and medium-sized practices (11 – 50 and 51+ staff) remained firmly positive at +48. In summary, most mid-to-large sized practices (56%) expect workloads to grow.
London also saw a confidence boom, climbing from +16 to +40 – its highest balance in two years. The North of England (+31); Wales & the West (+22); South of England (+14); and Midlands & East Anglia (+3) also all remained in positive territory.
In terms of staffing:
- The RIBA Future Trends Permanent Staffing Index increased by two points to +11.
- 15% of practices said they expect to employ more permanent staff over the coming three months, 80% expect levels to stay the same and only 4% expect to employ fewer.
- All practice sizes said they remain positive about staffing levels, although staff recruitment remains highest among medium and large-sized practices (11+ staff).
- Appetite to recruit remains strongest in London. With an overall balance figure of +18, 26% of practices in the capital said they expect to employ more permanent staff in the coming three months.
RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:
“February saw an encouraging rise in optimism across all sectors and regions, especially in the capital, where practice revenue and workload has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
It’s important to note however, that this data was collected before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the picture of economic stability might be short lived. The conflict is likely to compound existing supply and inflation issues, and rapidly increase energy prices which, once again, demonstrates the urgent need for the UK to implement an effective, well-funded and designer-led retrofit programme.
We will continue to report these findings to the Government and work with other built environment bodies to monitor ongoing trends. As ever, we are on hand to provide the support and resources our members need.”