|Published in:||arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, June 2017, n. 2, v. 21|
That architects leave the profession is something that seems ‘known’. In addition, there has been continuous concern that women in particular leave. However, the extent of departure is unclear. Much of the information around these observations come from surveys, is anecdotal or study women in isolation from men. This paper provides some firmer data on the movement of men and women into and out of the profession using Australia as a case study. It collates and analyses historical and contemporary data to delineate the complex patterns of participation in and leaving of architecture.
While the sources of data are often limited and approximate, this analysis nonetheless highlights a number of factors affecting the tenure of architects in their profession. The economy is an obvious factor and the data mirrors the economic fate of the country. The paper firmly demonstrates that gender is a factor with a strong impact on leaving the profession – a movement that clearly adversely affects the diversity of the profession. A further factor in leaving is age, which interacts with gender: women begin to leave when young and men when older. Diversity is increasingly proving to be an important factor in the ability of an organisation or a profession to survive, let alone meet, the challenges and opportunities of the globalised twenty-first century.
The paper concludes with a plea for better data sources to better clarify how, and to what extent, biases nudge many architects out of the profession. Understanding the extent and nature of these biases helps the formulation of tactics to foster greater diversity to engender a more resilient profession.
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