41% of architects set to lose their jobs - report


Two out of every five architects will have lost their jobs during the 15-month period between January 2008 and March this year, according to a survey carried out by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

Almost 30 per cent of the estimated 3,500 architects in the State lost their jobs last year and the RIAI expects further jobs losses in the first quarter of this year. The RIAI has 2,800 members in the State.

John Graby, director of the RIAI, says one of the major problems facing architecture firms is that State agencies are “not paying for work that has been completed”. He declined to name a specific project where this had happened.

Another problems facing the sector is those people losing their jobs have “no where else to go” as the economic slowdown has hit construction globally meaning there are very few job opportunities.

“There is no obvious place for these people to go, construction is being hit across the globe,” he said. 

Unlike previous sectoral downturns all three construction segments; residential, commercial and public public projects have been hit.

Mr Graby said anecdotally there was evidence that some of the smaller regional practices that concentrate on extensions and one-off houses have fared the best but job losses were impacting on all practices in all parts of the country.

He said very few architects who had lost their jobs were contemplating leaving the professional and retraining for another career and said one potential source of employment is the development of sustainable design

“If our commitments to preventing climate change are to be delivered on, then how we design and make our buildings is a critical factor and we need to put resources into research to ensure that Ireland is leading the drive in this area”.

“A great deal of expertise has been developed within the Irish Architectural Profession over the last 15 years and Irish architects are among the best in the world at delivering high volume, high quality buildings within very tight time frames.

The survey, conducted for RIAI by Millward Brown IMS surveyed 233 practices. It found job loses by architectural technicians were running at a higher rate, with 54 per cent expected to have lost their jobs in the 15 months to March 2009.