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    Number of mid-size architecture firms shrink, new entrants increased

    Lisa Rapley

    Following on from yesterday’s article about architects being paid more in other industries, the Creative Industries Innovation Centre report also shows the number of mid-size architectural firms have shrunk between 2009 and 2011.

    Larger firms – those with more than 200 employees – more than doubled, with new entrants boosting the number of practices at the smaller end.

    The number of mid-size firms – those employing between 20 and 199 people – dropped to 308 from 352 in just two years.

    The number of large firms increased from 11 to 23, with the non-employing firms – those with a sole architect – rose five per cent.

    But size does not necessarily equate to turnover.

    The number of architectural firms earning in the brackets of $50-200,000, $200,000-2m and over $2 million fell in the same period. While the number of firms earning in the lowest bracket - $0-50,000 increased by 12 per cent mainly due to new entrants in the market.

    Speaking to the AFR, the Creative industries Innovation Centre manager for strategic research Tamara Ogilvie says there has been a period of consolidation where firms have been merging and creating bigger firms in terms of numbers of employees. However, there is a period of catch-up for that to eventually reflect in turnover.

    Additionally, she says, “We are still seeing quite a few new entrants in that smaller end. Despite the bleak state of the industry, they can’t help themselves but set up shop.”

    Overall, the industry experienced an average annual growth of 3.3 per cent between 2003 and 2011 for the number of business.

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