AIA’s Compensation Report Reveals How Architecture Firms Weathered the Pandemic

Despite a steep economic recession during the first half of 2020, compensation for architectural staff at U.S. architecture firms essentially held flat over the 2019–2021 period, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) biannual Compensation Report.

“Like many professions, architecture firms across the country have had to weather an incredibly volatile period,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While we have seen an unprecedented recovery in architecture firm billings during 2021, this report provides a valuable snapshot of the impact the pandemic had last year on firm compensation and employment levels.”

According to the report, architecture firms lost 16,000 positions between February and their low in July of 2020, which is 8 percent of all payroll positions at firms. Meanwhile the overall economy lost over 21 million payroll positions between February and April of 2020, or 16.5 percent of total payrolls.

The biannual compensation report provides salary data for more than 40 architecture firm positions in cities across the United States as well as industry salary trends and analysis on where the market is headed.

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