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Raise it yourself. TEK’s Salary Researcher Tuunia Keränen encourages architects and others to ask for a starting salary that is high enough and to ask for a raise whenever they feel they deserve it.

Architects’ salaries are low for several reasons

News article

There is a salary gap between the architect members of TEK and the members with other degrees. The gap is caused by the job roles, the industries and the lack of management positions.

According to the labour market survey conducted by the Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK, the salaries of architects who are members of TEK are lower than the salaries of other TEK members, such as the holders of a Master of Science degree in technology, mathematics or natural sciences.

According to TEK’s Salary Researcher Tuunia Keränen, this gap is caused by a number of factors.

“A greater proportion of architects work in expert roles where the salary level is lower than in middle management or management positions.”

You can find all sorts of working hours policies in architectural firms.
- Jussi Nousiainen

According to the 2022 labour market survey, 77 percent of architects work in expert roles, 17 in middle management and 5 in management, whereas in terms of academic engineers, 65 percent work in expert roles, 22 in middle management and 11 in management. The gap can also be attributed to the fact that most architects work in the consulting and the municipal sectors where the salary levels are lower than in, say, industry.

“A total of 88 percent of architects work in these sectors, whereas only 18 percent of academic engineers do the same. Of the sectors under TEK, the university sector has the lowest salary level, followed by the consulting sector and the municipal sector.”

According to Jussi Nousiainen, Senior Advisor at TEK who is also responsible for the contract branch of the architectural design sector at YTN, the problem is not only the salary level, but also grey labour.

“You can find all sorts of working hours policies in architectural firms. Folks often work overtime without pay, and timesheets tend to be used to just record the hours to be invoiced from the client instead of the actual hours worked.”

One of the striking discoveries is that average salaries in the architect community decrease towards the end of the career, whereas the average salaries of those with a Master of Science degree increase. Nousiainen believes that there are several reasons for this.

“Even the most experienced architects almost always work as experts, whereas those with other degrees work comparatively more often in management and middle management positions. With architects, those in higher-paid management and middle management roles are typically professionals in the middle stages of their career. On average, academic engineers work in bigger firms than architects. The average size of architectural firms in Finland is quite small, and that is why there are not a lot of architects in middle management.”

TEK has about 2,000 architect members.

What topics does TEK study?

We at TEK are constantly researching the field of technology: employment, salaries, equality, and coping with work or studies, for example. We have studied and published information on many themes for years – you are welcome to examine and compare the results using, for example, time series visualizations. Read more about our research: www.tek.fi/research