Architecture: London’s economic gem

March 27, 2017 / Isla MacFarlane
Architecture: London’s economic gem

A recent working paper from GLA Economics has revealed the enormous economic contribution London’s architecture sector makes to the UK economy.

Overall, London’s architecture sector produced £1.7 billion in added value in 2015 making it larger than the Museums, Galleries & Libraries creative industry.

In addition, the compound average rate of growth between 2009 and 2015 was 7.6 per cent per annum after adjusting for inflation, which was faster than the creative industries and the London economy as a whole.

Architecture also attracts students to study in London and tourists to visit London. Approximately 19.3 per cent of undergraduates and 39.9 per cent of postgraduates studying architecture in the UK were at London-based higher education institutions.

The architecture sector also adds to London’s international image. Around one-third of the jobs in London’s architecture sector were taken by non-UK nationals in 2015. Similarly, approximately 28.3 per cent of undergraduates and 36.7 per cent of postgraduates studying architecture at UK-based higher education institutions were previously domiciled in countries other than the UK.

In addition, The UK as a whole is a net exporter of architectural services, exporting £437 million more than it imported in 2015.

Key facts about London’s architecture sector:

  • There were approximately 4,240 workplaces (i.e. the place of work like an individual office) in the capital’s architecture sector in 2016;
  • Nine out of ten workplaces had parent enterprises (i.e. the business in its entirety which may include one or more workplaces not necessarily in London) that were micro businesses employing less than ten people and having annual turnover of less than £1 million in 2016;
  • There were approximately 22,800 jobs in London’s architecture sector in 2015;
  • One-in-four architect occupations in the UK were based in London;
  • Around half of all London-based architects were aged 35-54 and approximately 40 per cent were female in 2015;
  • The gross median hourly wage for architects in London was £17.88 in 2016 – that is higher than the average for London as a whole;
  • Of those studying architecture, around one-in-five undergraduates and two-in-five postgraduates chose to do so in London during the 2014-15 academic year;
  • More than half of the Architecture, Built Environment & Planning research conducted by London-based universities is considered as being world-leading or internationally excellent;
  • Approximately 2.8 per cent of domestic overnight and 4.2 per cent of domestic day visitors to London undertook activities related to architecture;
  • In total, between £382.5 million and £453.9 million of London’s GVA could be attributed to architecture-related tourism.
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