The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends workload index dipped in February, falling from +24 in January to +16.
London-based practices were again cautious about future workloads (balance figure +10), along with those in the South (+3). Practices in the North of England remained the most optimistic (increasing to +38), with Wales and the West also positive (+22).
Practices of all sizes reported a dip in workload expectations but medium-sized practices (11–50 staff) saw the most dramatic decline in the workload index (falling from +50 in January to +17 in February).
The private housing sector forecast increased slightly to +23. Forecasts for both the public sector and community sector stood in negative territory; the commercial sector outlook fell slightly but remained positive.
The RIBA Future Trends staffing index increased marginally to +9 in February (up from +8 in January); 7% of practices expect to employ fewer staff in three months’ time.
Medium-sized practices were again the most confident about retaining or increasing existing staff levels (balance figure +31), followed by large (+14) and small practices (+6). 5% of practices reported staff redundancies as a result of the EU referendum outcome.
RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said, “Despite several years of growth in demand for architectural services, competition is intense with many practices still experiencing low fee levels. However, with a majority of practices expecting to sustain and grow staffing levels over the next quarter, the employment market for salaried architects remains healthy.”