If you’ve been in the architecture and design industry for any length of time, you’ve learned one truth: architects are paid less than they are worth.

As a result, how architects can get paid more is a common topic for discussion, and many solutions, like rethinking fee schedules, have been presented.

Underpaid design professionals result from a huge disconnect between fees and work. Many firms charge clients based on the time architects spend on projects and any revisions.

A more effective way to charge for design services is to calculate the ROI of a project. A simple design change that adds a few thousand square feet to a commercial building, for example, increases the client’s earning potential. The design firm’s earnings should increase similarly, and so should the architects.

Theoretically, higher fees could produce higher salaries.

Architects Can Get Paid More By Mastering These Skills

Other ways architects try to increase their worth, and subsequently their pay, include developing hard and soft skills necessary in the design world. These include:

  • Upskilling. Learning new design software or specializations can increase architect pay.
  • Getting a license and additional certifications. Architects who add to their education often secure higher salaries.
  • Being the Best. Every designer has a niche, that one specialization or skill that makes them unique and valuable to a design firm. Experience matters greatly and honing those skills can position designers to make more money.
  • Communicating clearly. Often recognized as a leadership skill, effective verbal and written communication can catapult designs into supervisory roles.
  • Motivating teams. Also considered a trait of leadership, motivation drives creativity and innovation.

Increasing value to the firm opens many possibilities for raising a salary and obtaining better benefits.

Consider Appropriate Career Transitions

Mastering specific skills can lead to other ways how architects can get paid more. Design firm leaders who don’t pay their architects well could discover that their top talent is considering these options:

  • Starting an architecture and design firm. Architects who develop strong hard and soft skills are in a position to work for themselves and set their own fees and pay scales.
  • Working with a company that provides a higher salary. An architecture and design recruiter can assist in finding lucrative opportunities.
  • Considering a move from the suburbs to urban areas that traditionally pay architects and designers more.

If you’re a design firm leader who is seeking out these exceptional architects and designs, work with a recruiter to identify and attract top design talent.

Are you a professional looking for a new opportunity?

Contact us to discuss your career options or browse our open positions.

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