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The Architectural Profession in Europe - A Sector Study

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The Architectural Profession in Europe - A Sector Study

The Architectural Profession in Europe - A Sector Study

The Sector Study is a biennial survey commissioned by the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) that collects and analyses statistical, sociological and economic data on European architects, the architectural market and architectural practices.


Based on responses from 30.000 architects in 30 European countries, the 2018 edition of the Study has been enriched with new research areas, making it, without doubt, the most comprehensive study on the architectural profession in Europe and an essential reference tool for all those interested in the architectural profession and the built environment.


The research confirms that Architecture in Europe is a growing profession, with the total number of architects estimated at 562.000 (an increase of 24% between 2008 and 2018).


The gender distribution in the profession could become more balanced in future as the majority of architects in the younger age groups are women (53% of architects in their 30s). However, the gender pay gap is around 25% and it has narrowed only very slightly over the last 10 years. On the other hand, the study shows that architects are keener to study and work abroad than in the past. 


The market is slowly recovering, with more than half of the profession’s turnover coming from private housing. The earnings of architects have increased on average by 2% since 2016. Regarding the legal structure of the profession, the Sector Study shows that 64% of European architects are working as independent professionals, 7 % in partnerships, and 20% have established a limited company.


The new Work Plan for Culture, concluded by the European Council in December 2018, defines architecture as a discipline that “encompasses the right balance between cultural, social, economic, environmental and technical aspects for the common good.”


The findings of the Sector Study support this definition, encouraging a new perception of the role of architecture and architects in the society, as the ACE President Georg Pendl points out:

“The EU institutions classify us as being part of business services or the construction sector, but our interests differ from those of industry; we are working for the quality of the built environment, for architectural quality and for a better life for the people using it. And this is reflected in the structure of the profession. We are not an industry, or even part of it; we are, by a huge majority, small or even micro enterprises.”


The ACE Sector Study is available in English and French on the ACE Website.