The world of architects and architecture is a luxurious representation of buildings, designs, and blueprints. But what goes behind all of these and how much does an architect make at the end. Multiple factors are responsible for making an exact number of salaries for an architect in various parts of the world. Factors like position, experience, firm size, taxes, insurance, legal differences, etc. 

The Starchitecture Valuation- How much do starchitects earn? - Sheet1

This article focuses on how much architects around the world earn. This article aims to understand what designing costs, and why negotiating with architects about payment is unconventional and unethical. The idea is to let architects and laymen know how much starchitects earn, and how design is a costly art and rightly so. So let’s find out!

The Starchitecture Valuation- How much do starchitects earn? - Sheet2

There are various tasks that an architect performs from designing houses, schools, hospitals, industries, and the list goes on. All of these architects gather different types of experiences altogether. Some spend the entire day at the desk while some are on the field. They can be classified as junior architects, senior architects, design architects, production architect, principal architect, etc. 

A design architect can be mostly found at large firms who are involved in the conceptual stage of the project who deals with sketching freehand, making computer-generated images of the project, and client presentations. A production architect is the one who deals with blueprints or drawings of a proposed project which a contractor will use to execute the building. These are the architects with the working experience of up to 10 years who work with Computer-Aided Design or Building Information Modeling software for modification of building drawings. 

A principal architect with up to 20 years of experience is the one who generally heads the firm and is paid the most i.e. $100,000 to $200,000. They are always involved in the design and planning of the projects. An architect who works at a mid-small sized firm may not get a chance to work on large projects but they have a great opportunity of getting involved at every stage of the project which gives an exposure of every layer of the process. On the same hand, a sole practitioner or a firm owner works for long hours with a tight budget and manages to earn $60,000 to $70,000 per year.

A wide range of data is available on the salary survey of architects. An infographic by Metalocus portrays a list of seven countries in ascending order that offer the highest average monthly salaries:

  1. Ireland ($4750)
  2. Qatar ($4665)
  3. Canada ($4745)
  4. Australia ($4750)
  5. United States ($5918)
  6. The UK ($6146)
  7. Switzerland ($7374)

On the contrary, a salary survey conducted by AEC Industry in the year 2017 shows that professionals earning in North America earn more than their European colleagues. As per the research, 32% of professionals in the US and Canada earn more than $100,000 compared to only 9% in western Europe, and none in Eastern Europe. The majority of these professionals from Europe earned less than $75,000 a year. 

Apart from these geographical differences, the survey marked a significant gender gap when it comes to salary. Men in the AEC industry earn 7% percent more compared to women despite a better education. 58% of women have a four-year degree, compared to 54% of the men. This gap is even more significant at the lower end of the salary scale where 36% of women earn less than $50,000.

The Starchitecture Valuation- How much do starchitects earn? - Sheet3

As per RIBA’s Salary guide 2017, Principal architects in the UK have an average salary of £43,605 while the architects with up to 5 years of experience can manage to have an average of £38,000. Salaries in London have been consistently higher since 2015 compared to the rest of the UK across the board which is almost 8% higher for principals and partners. 

In India, according to the website (, It is published that a beginner can expect to earn anything between Rs. 1 Lakh to 1.5 Lakh per annum, the salary increases gradually with experience. An experienced architect can command up to Rs. 5 Lakh per annum in the current market. Even within the field, the salaries vary widely, with private companies paying more than the government sector to hire skilled architects.

In a survey by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, it is suggested that architects can expect a hike of an average of 7% in job opportunities between 2014 to 2024. Also, between 2016 to 2026 the rate of employment growth for architects is 4% which is comparatively slower than average for other occupations. There are multiple reasons for this prediction. One of the major aspects is the excessive growth of architectural colleges in ratio to less number of construction possibilities as they are tied to various external market factors.

Hence, the coherence of both is required with an increase in the pay scale for architects in some of the countries. Also, there is a need to understand the value of design and creative aspects in this profession and then raise the required payscale.



Jhanavi is an architecture graduate from Nirma University in 2019 with the best awarded Research Thesis on Architectural Response to Waterfronts. Jhanavi is an Associate Architect at JCE, Ahmedabad and also recipient of research grant for the research of “Women in Architecture” from EDRC. She is a keen observer, who loves to translate the minute details into words.

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