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There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

Equity in Architecture Survey 2016 - Request for Proposals

by Annelise Pitts, Associate AIA

The AIA SF Committee - Equity by Design requests the submission of proposals to provide research and analysis services for the 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey. Deliverables to include the administration and analysis of an approximately 80 question survey on the professional experiences, backgrounds, and aspirations of approximately 3,000 to 5,000 men and women practicing architecture across the United States. Parallel survey tracks are to be provided for the following:

  • Individuals who are currently working in an architectural practice
  • Individuals who have worked in an architectural practice in the past, but are currently employed in another profession
  • Individuals who who have worked in an architectural practice in the past, and are currently not employed in any profession

As the largest and most comprehensive study launched nationally to date on this topic, this research project has the potential to impact architectural practice nationwide.


  • background in survey research and analysis,
  • excellent statistical analysis skills, (with a degree or major being beneficial)
  • an interest in issues impacting the careers and advancement of professional women,
  • familiarity with architectural practice,
  • experience collaborating with teams to produce narratives which depict the findings to a broader audience

In addition, the successful research team or individual will demonstrate the ability to work in collaboration with the AIASF Equity by Design Research Committee to present survey findings in a final report  that can be understood by the broader AEC community.


Project Description

Building upon the successful 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey, the 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey aims to create a comprehensive national dataset detailing female and male graduates of architecture school’s current positions and career experiences.

This phase of the Equity in Architecture Research Project will provide data on the ways in which men’s and women’s careers in architecture differ, and offer insight into ways in which individual practitioners, employers, and the industry as a whole can make changes on a policy and culture level that  promote satisfying careers in architecture for women and men alike, improve employee retention, and ultimately, improve companies’ bottom lines.

The survey will be designed to include approximately 80 questions, with multiple tracks based on the criteria above. It should take 15-20 minutes to complete, and will be administered within a one month period via Survey Monkey. The survey results will be processed by the academic research team per the schedule outlined in this document within the general timeframe between March 2016 – July 2016, with preliminary results available in June 2016.

Key research goals/objectives  for the 2016 Equity in Architecture Survey include:

  • Compare the current positions and career experiences of  female and male architecture school graduates nationwide, including both current architectural professionals and those who no longer practice architecture.
  • Identify career pinch points associated with these experiences, highlighting ways in which women experience these career pinch points differently from their male counterparts.
  • Highlight individual attitudes and behaviors, as well as employer-provided benefits and practices, that contribute to success in navigating these pinch points. Conversely, identify behaviors and practices that correlate with negative outcomes.
  • Follow up with respondents of the 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey to track career progression between 2014-2016. Compare men’s and women’s career progress over this two-year period.

Submission Requirements

For Full RFP, Download PDF Here.

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO December 31, 2015.

Please submit the following items electronically by no later than 5pm, December 31st. Please address all submissions to Annelise Pitts, Chair of the Equity by Design Research Committee, :

  • Executive summary, including a discussion of team experience with similar projects
  • CVs for all individuals who will be working on the project, including individual experience with relevant projects, their role on the project, professional accreditations, and educational and employment background
  • Proposed schedule of fees, including hourly rates and a projected breakdown of hours by phase listed above in the Project Timeline and Scope of Work
  • Proposed project delivery method, including schedule, methods of analysis, and a description of project deliverables included in the scope of work. Please discuss any suggested revisions to the project timeline, scope of services, or project deliverables
  • 3 References for the scope of work.

Resources/Existing Data

The following resources provide additional information of the work of Equity by Design: