So, this week, the AIA released the third quarter ABI (Architecture Billings Index); for me, that was not so much interesting, but later the article had a pie chart (see below) highlighting the reasons for the ongoing decline in rates of licensure according to firm leaders.
In viewing the chart more closely, it is clear that the primary reason for the decline is "few benefits/incentives - 32%. Thus, why would one become an architect if there is no benefit or incentive. If one wishes to be in the profession, simply obtain the degree and work for a firm under the supervision of an architect. In this scenario, they would not be able to call themselves an architect or open their own firm (a valid reason to pursue licensure).
But from stories I have heard, firms do not provide any additional financial compensation when a staff becomes licensed. Typically, there is no more responsibility just because the individual is an architect.
To stem this decline, the profession needs to provide incentive; in turn, we need to provide benefit or incentive to clients to hire architects.
Most of the other reasons are, in my opinion, "complaining. The "process is too costly, not prepared for the ARE, etc." are just excuses from the candidate/intern.
I do find it interesting that a full 13% are not fully committed to a career in architecture; while this sounds like a valid reason, why are they not fully committed.
Bottom line, what can the profession do to improve the benefit of becoming an architect? Is money the solution? I hope not, but a raise when becoming licensed certainly would help. I do think more firms help subsidize the ARE and IDP.
What else can be done? I am not sure, but do not law firms celebrate when their staff pass the bar. The AIA does provide free convention registration to those who have become licensed in the past year.
As an educator, I try to do my part and strongly encourage my students/graduates to pursue licensure, but what should I tell them is waiting for them?
Just my thoughts!