Wikipedia describes architecture as one of the most difficult professions in the world, but unfortunately, it cannot be described as the highest paid profession. Even after years of education and training, the majority of architects do not earn as much as other professions. So, what is the reason behind it? There can be a number of explanations for this question, but the most common and appropriate answer is that ‘we as architects are unable to take complete advantage of our skills and potential’.
It is very important to work hard and smart in every profession, but the modern-day society demands a lot more than that. So, in this article, I will tell you about the skills and techniques to boost your salary as a professional architect.
The world today is obsessed with grades, degrees, and level of education. The majority of architects are known to hold just an undergraduate degree in Architecture, and that is the basic problem. The architecture firms or hiring companies are looking for professionals with specializations. The average salary of an architect in 2019 was quite less compared to an architect with specialization.
I personally blame the education system in India for this catastrophe. The education system in India is quite cruel to the students. After 5 years of hectic undergraduate education in Architecture, the students no longer wish to waste their time pursuing another degree. The dilemma is correct, but the young professionals must not give up so easily. A Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. will not only give you a superior position but will also help you get a good and fair sum of salary.
So, higher education is the first and the simplest approach to boost your salary. It is never too late. Just identify your field of interest and study. Some of the most popular choices of specializations in architecture are – urban design, interior design, urban planning, conservation architecture, and landscape architecture.
KEEP UPDATING YOUR SKILLS
An architect manages to learn a lot during the tenure of his/her education. As professionals, they are equipped with various skills and talents, but is it enough? The answer to it is NO. We live in a dynamic society that continues to develop and grow every moment. Hence it’s important to grow with it.
You cannot expect different results if you continue to do the same thing over and over again. As a professional, you cannot expect higher wages/ salary, if you continue to do the same things every day. So, the second basic method to earn more is, to improve your skills.
Hard Skills you need to improve as an Architect – Software skills, designing skills, drafting skills, data interpretation skills, Presentation skills, On Field skills etc..
Soft Skills you need to improve as an Architect – Communication skills, leadership skills, teamwork, creativity, decision-making ability, problem-solving ability, adaptability, and flexibility etc.
BECOME AN EXPERT
The architecture firms today demands professionals with specialization. There is no value of a professional who is a jack of all trades and master of none. For example, a design architects salary or a landscape architects salary is a lot more than that of a regular architect.
Now the question arises ‘How to become an expert?’ First of all, choose your field of interest; e.g. conservation, landscape design or whatever other fields you may like. After that get a degree in that specialized course, that might be a certificate course, a diploma, a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. In the 3rd step, complete your training in a firm that specializes in your field. The experience you gain in that firm will simply add to your experience. All these efforts and hard work put by you will have increased your value as an architect. Now you can easily work in a world-class firm with a 6 – 7 figure salary.
LOOK FOR BETTER OPTIONS
In professional life, loyalty to an organization is very important. Unfortunately, you may not get the right pay or increment for being loyal to the same organization. Some of the most common problems are –
• Many organizations are known to pay less than the defined minimum wages to their employees. (I insist that you should avoid working in such organizations.)
• Many organizations are known to offer 10% – 20% increment to their new employees and reduce is down to just 3% – 5% after a few years.
• The organization might continue to pay you minimum wages (without increment) despite your skill, potential, and experience.
It is very important to leave an organization that doesn’t pay you a fair salary for your services. Just switch over to an organization that offers you a fair salary and respects your potential as a professional.
There are two ways to go about the side hustle – First way is to do side jobs (i.e. part-time job) to get some more money and the second way is to do extra work (i.e. extra hours) for a better increment. Continue to read for better understanding
1. Side Jobs for Architects – Architects don’t always get the pay they want or the pay they deserve. So, young professionals often turn their faces towards side jobs, just to earn some extra cash. As architects, you are already equipped a lot of skills and talents. You can simply use to do some part-time jobs. Some of the most popular options are – working as a draftsman, work as a 3d visualizer, work on small interior design projects and work as a model maker.
2. Extra Work (Extra hours) – Sometimes the best way to earn more money in an organization is by getting recognized. And the only way to get recognized is to work hard. I have seen young professionals working overtime, interacting with the boss and doing extra work in an office to portrait a positive image on their superiors. And to my surprise, they manage to grab a nice raise or increment with their extra efforts.
GET A LICENSE
One of the easiest ways to get a nice hike in your salary is, to become a licensed architect. In India, it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Plus compared to other countries, you can get it in a very short duration of time. Let me just prove this by giving you an example – Just take a good look around your workplace; you will notice that all the senior architects/ officials are registered professionals. They are granted a license to practice architecture in India by the Council of Architecture.
You can now simply compare the salaries or wages of a regular architect with a licensed architect. The results will always show that a licensed architect has a better and higher income than an unlicensed architect.
MOVE TO A BETTER CITY
Statistical data show that the monthly wage of a professional in a small town or suburban area is a lot less than that of a professional in big cities and urban areas. The only solution here is, to move to a bigger and better place.
Firms in small cities pay less to their employees because of limited demand and a small project. On the other hand firms in big cities manage to earn a lot with humongous projects like malls, housing societies, airports etc. Just choose your city wisely.1st step is to find the nearest urban town or a metropolitan city. 2nd step is to identify a good and reputed architecture firm (make sure the pay is more than your current pay). Finally, begin your new journey with a smile on your face.
START YOUR OWN PRACTICE
An architect’s salary in 2021 is no better than it was 10 years ago. Can you all guess why? The answer to this question is very simple, ‘the number of unemployed architects is a lot more and the number of jobs available for them.’ As a result of this, the new and unemployed architects agree to work for low and unfair wages.
So, how can we stop this? First of all ‘stop working at firms that offer less and unfair salary’. After this, the smartest choice that you can make is, to start your own architecture firm (after gaining some experience). Be your own boss.
Starting your own practice is a difficult yet the most efficient way of earning more money. As an independent professional you can charge a desired fee from the client. You even get a chance to finance some (legal) commission from the vendors. Not only will an independent practice give you several windows to make good money but, it will also help you to become an amazing architect.
By now you have learned that everything doesn’t go according to you (especially in the professional world). So, you must learn how to create opportunities and grab it on time. Just keep your eyes open. There are a lot more ways to boost your income or salary as an architect.
If you know of a better way, please feel free to share with us. Good luck ☺