Architects Award 2020 and Students of Architecture

The Architects Award 2020, in effect since 4 May, now makes an important distinction between currently enrolled Students of Architecture and Graduates of a Bachelor degree with a pathway to an approved Master of Architecture program.  This change impacts the minimum rates of pay for employees in these classifications.

The Architects Award 2020 changes the definition of ‘Student of Architecture’ and introduces a new classification for employees called ‘Bachelor’s Degree with a pathway to a Master of Architecture’.

Under the Award, a Student of Architecture is now an employee who is normally enrolled in a bachelor degree with a pathway to a Master of Architecture.  This classification includes minimum rates of pay for students of architecture under age 21 and another for those 21 years of age and over, based on years of experience.

The new classification, a ‘Bachelor’s Degree with a pathway to a Master of Architecture’ is an employee who has graduated with a bachelor degree which would allow them to apply for enrolment or be enrolled in an approved Master of Architecture program.

This change seeks to resolve a previous lack of clarity around the definition ‘Student of Architecture’ as it did not recognise possession of a relevant design based Bachelor Degree qualification.  The result of these changes ensures that most individuals employed in the practice of architecture are now captured by the Architects Award, rather than a different industry Award.

The result is that holders of the bachelor degree with a pathway to the Master of Architecture can now earn between 85% – 95% of the Entry Level 1 Graduate salary (depending on experience) while Students of Architecture have a minimum pay rates of between 35%-75% of the Entry Level 1 Graduate salary depending on age and experience.

This means that under the new Award, holders of the Bachelor degree with a pathway to an approved Master of Architecture should be receiving minimum salary of between $44,668* FTE – $49,923* FTE depending on years of experience.

*these rates are current as at 9 June 2020. Minimum rates of pay increase every year on 1 July.

What is the definition of experience under the Award?

In the Architects Award 2020, a year of experience means a minimum of 30 hours per week or the equivalent thereof over a 12-month period.  This experience must be paid and conducted under the supervision of a registered architect.

How can employees approach their employer if they have concerns about their salary?

HR Hub advice recommends employees to be direct in their approach with employers using resources such as the Award itself, or tools from the Fair Work Ombudsman.  Fair work PACT pay calculator tool or pay guide tables for the Award can help.  If other employees are impacted perhaps approach the employer as a group, appointing a confident spokesperson.  Arrange a formal meeting with the employer in a professional setting and bring a support person and formalize any requests in writing. 

This advice and information have been compiled with reference to the Architects Award 2020 and with assistance from Wentworth Advantage who provide the HR Hub and the Australian Institute of Architects HR Service.  This advice is general in nature and no reader should act or fail to act on the basis of any material contained therein. The material contained should not be relied on as a substitute for legal or professional advice on any matter.