RIBA Future Trends Survey for June 2015 reveals workload forecast at all-time high

  • Under-employment for architects at record low
  • Workload and staffing forecasts the highest since the survey began in 2009

In June 2015, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased to an all-time high of +44, up from +37 in May 2015. All nations and regions in the UK returned positive balance figures, with practices in the Midlands and East Anglia the most confident about workloads over the next quarter (balance figure +51).

Large practices (51+ staff) are the most optimistic about future work prospects (balance figure +71); small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +42) and medium-sized practices (11–50 staff, balance figure +47) both remain in strongly positive territory.

The private housing sector workload forecast increased to +39 in June 2015 (from +34 in May), while the commercial sector workload forecast fell back very slightly to +19, down from +21. Office and leisure buildings in particular remain an important area of growth.

The public sector workload forecast saw a modest increase to +2, while the community sector forecast continued its recent positive trajectory, moving to +5. Although both the public sector and community sector forecasts are now in positive territory, participating practices are not predicting a very significant increase in activity in these sectors over the coming quarter.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also reached a record high this month, standing at +20 in June (from +16 in May). 98 percent of participating practices expect staffing levels either to increase or to stay the same over the next few months; 9 percent of our respondents reported that they had personally been under-employed – the lowest figure recorded since the RIBA Future Trends survey began in 2009.

Small practices (balance figure +18) and medium-sized practices (balance figure +26) continue to be confident about increasing their staffing levels. Large practices appear to be the most optimistic about future staffing levels, with a balance figure of +43.

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said:

“The overall picture is of a profession that is confident about its future workloads and is beginning to feel the invigorating effects of a sustained period of real growth. Commentary suggests that many practices have a rapidly filling order book, with private housing continuing to be the primary driver of growth in demand for architects’ services.

“Of course, many macro-economic factors and uncertainties may impact upon the financial fortunes of the architectural profession, but with all our key indicators now standing at new peaks the overall mood is very optimistic.”