The American Institute of Architects’ latest survey on diversity in the workplace has uncovered serious shortcomings when it comes to the representation of women and ethnic minorities in the US architecture profession.
The survey found that both Caucasians and people of colour tend to agree that ethnic minorities continue to suffer from underrepresentation in the US architecture profession. At least 69 per cent of respondents in four survey categories – women of colour, men of colour, white women and white men – indicated that people of colour are either somewhat to very unrepresented within the architecture sector.
White women emerged as the survey one group who are most firmly convinced that the architecture profession is failing to give adequate opportunity to people of colour, with 76 per cent believing them to be somewhat to very underrepresented, as compared to figures of 71 per cent for women of colour, 70 per cent for white men and 69 per cent for men of colour.
Respondents were far less unanimous in their views on gender representation, however, with men evenly split between those who do and do not believe that women are adequately represented. The perspective amongst female architects differs significantly, with 69 per cent indicating that women are somewhat to very underrepresented within their profession.
The AIA survey follows the release of the fifth annual Women in Architecture survey of more than 1,000 female architectural professionals around the world, which found that roughly 40 per cent of respondents believed that they would enjoy greater pay levels of if they were men, and 72 per cent reported sexual discrimination, harassment or victimisation during their careers as architects.
Respondents to the AIA survey who contend that women are underrepresented in the architectural workplace believe lifestyle factors were the chief reason for their insufficient presence, pointing in particular to concerns about work-life balance, the long hours in architectural firms which can impinge upon family formation, as well as lack of flexibility when it come to work times and locations.
Despite these concerns, the report also indicated that members of the architecture profession finding their working lives fulfilling for the most part, with roughly half indicating that they were highly satisfied with jobs in general, as compared to just a handful who were highly unsatisfied. Remuneration remains a sticking point however, with salaries ranking lowest for satisfaction alongside the fairness and transparency of promotion and compensation practices put in place by employers.