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2024.8.14-16 Shanghai New International Expo Centre,China

World Of Concrete Asia

2024.8.14-16 Shanghai New International Expo Centre,China
57,000+
Visitors
37,000+
Exhibitors
720+
Scale

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Home > > Architecture firms tackle power dynamics and privilege

Architecture firms tackle power dynamics and privilege

Architecture firms tackle power dynamics and privilege

A group of leading Australian architecture practices have joined forces to examine how power dynamics and privilege impact career progression in their industry.

The initiative, called “Power and Privilege,” is part of the global Champions of Change movement aimed at achieving gender equality and building inclusive workplaces.

Over three years of research and collaboration, firms like Hayball, SJB, DesignInc, DKO, and Bates Smart have worked together to better understand the barriers and opportunities in career pathways within architecture studios.

The findings, informed by surveys, census data, and insights from over 150 senior leaders, paint a sobering picture of the profession’s landscape.

Dr Jess Murphy, who convened the Champions of Change Architecture Group, emphasised the importance of leadership recognising and challenging power dynamics to accelerate gender equality.

The research revealed a disproportionately high representation of men (70 per cent) in the Australian architecture industry, with men over 50 years old being nearly twice as likely to be equity partners.

Across all genders, 86 per cent identify as being of Caucasian descent and are 3.4 times more likely to be equity partners, while people of indigenous descent make up less than 1 per cent of the workforce.

The study also explored how class intersects with gender, race, disability, skills, and location in the creative industry.

Participants with family connections in the industry were 2.3 times more likely to be equity partners, regardless of demographic factors.

Privileged men were 3.4 times more likely to work in the creative sector than women from a non-privileged background, and those with over 20 years of experience were four times more likely to be involved in major business decisions.

Hayball Principal Bianca Hung emphasised the need for the industry to reflect the diversity of the society it designs for, calling for a comprehensive review of internal policies and a commitment to improving gender and inclusivity within practices.

The “Power and Privilege” paper offers clear recommendations for enabling accessibility, collaboration, and diverse culture, including providing constructive feedback, offering mentorship and professional development pathways, understanding the needs of parents, and reviewing training systems to accommodate varied learning and working styles.

Hayball Principal Dave Tordoff recognised the importance of individual awareness and action in addressing privilege and enabling equitable access to leadership pathways.

The practice has achieved one of its gender equity targets, with over 40 per cent of owners and shares by value owned by women.

As Hayball Principal Kit Ku stated: “Working together, our industry has a chance to be leaders in furthering diversity and inclusion on a global scale.”

The Champions of Change Architecture Group looks forward to continued collaboration to create more opportunities for all in the profession.

News from Build Australia.

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