London’s booming architecture sector

London’s architecture sector continues to outperform the wider London and UK economies, according to new research produced by the Greater London Authority in partnership with the London Festival of Architecture. While the research also offers – for the first time – a mixed picture of diversity within the profession, it also demonstrates the resilience of London architecture’s global workforce despite the threats to the sector posed by Brexit.

Key findings in London’s Architectural Sector include:

London architecture and the economy

  • London’s architecture sector produced £1.9 billion in gross value added (GVA) – a measure of the value of goods and services produced
  • Architecture in London has grown 7.7% on average between 2009 and 2016: outstripping the growth rates of the creative industries, the London economy and the UK economy as a whole
  • Architecture accounts for 26,200 jobs in London: a quarter of all architecture jobs in the UK
  • London’s architecture sector is complex, with 4,515 architecture workplaces across the capital

London architecture and diversity

  • London’s architecture profession is young: around 40% of all architecture jobs are held by 16-34 year olds with only 13% held by over 55s
  • 37% of all architect jobs are held by women – compared with 31% nationwide. However, this figure has yet to recover to its historic peak of 40% before the economic crash in 2008
  • London’s architecture sector is less diverse than the all-sector average: only around 16% of all architecture and engineering jobs in London are held by BAME people, compared with 31% across all sectors

London is Open

  • Architecture-related tourism expenditure in London was between £1 billion and £1.2 billion in 2016
  • The UK is a major net exporter or architecture services, exporting £439 million of architectural services (and importing only £41 million)
  • Around a quarter of all architecture jobs in London are held by EU nationals (excluding UK nationals): a figure that has remained constant since 2014, despite the EU Referendum
  • 30% of undergraduate and 37% of postgraduate architecture students are from outside the UK

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said:

“The Mayor and I are pleased to launch this research, which highlights the positive impact London’s world-leading architectural sector has on our economy. As well as shaping the development of our city, this global success story contributes many millions of pounds to our economy. The report does, however, highlight the fact that more needs to be done to ensure the sector reflects the diversity of our great city. Through the Mayor’s Good Growth by Design Programme, we will do all we can to champion diversity within the profession.”

Speaking at the launch of the report at the MIPIM international property event in Cannes, London Festival of Architecture director Tamsie Thomson said:

“Architecture is critical to London’s success – not only in terms of shaping the city but also as an industry that supports thousands of jobs and contributes many millions of pounds to the economy. It’s a global success story that’s heavily reliant on global talent – and while the figures are heartening they’re also a reminder of what could be at risk if Brexit negotiations are badly handled.”

“It’s disappointing – but not surprising – to see that while London’s architecture sector outperforms in economic terms, it continues to lag behind in terms of diversity. We must do more to ensure that our profession reflects the society it seeks to serve. London architecture’s brilliance and continued global leadership depends on us being an open profession without barriers, and we at the London Festival of Architecture will do all we can to champion diversity within the profession.”