RIBA National Council vote: How I’m hoping to strengthen, diversify and future-proof the architect profession - Pride Road Architects

RIBA National Council vote: How I’m hoping to strengthen, diversify and future-proof the architect profession

by Lisa Raynes

09/07/2018, in Main Blog

Voting is now open for RIBA National Council and I’m proud to stand as the only candidate from Manchester and the North West.

As part of my campaign, I want to diversify, strengthen and future-proof the architect profession by leading the flexible working movement, educating the public about the value qualified architects offer, and decentralising activity away from London.

RIBA National Council candidate, Lisa Raynes

I started my career as an architect over 20 years ago, and I’ve faced redundancy twice – once while on maternity leave.

It was while I was running my first practice – Raynes Architecture – that I realised there was a lack of flexible work opportunities for architects. Flexible working is now the norm for many other industries, but architecture is lagging behind.

Not only is flexible working important to help us be happier, healthier and more productive, but it’s also a vital step in making the profession more diverse and inclusive. Because of this, I founded Pride Road, an architecture franchise designed to empower other qualified architects – whether working parents, experienced practitioners or newly qualified architects – to start their own businesses with the support of a bigger brand.

Why female architects need more support

Research from Dezeen, released in November 2017, showed:

  • Only three of the world’s 100 biggest architecture firms are headed by women
  • Only two of the world’s 100 biggest architecture firms are more than 50 per cent female
  • Women occupy only 10 per cent of the highest-ranking jobs at the world’s largest firms
  • 16 of the world’s biggest firms have no women at all in senior positions

More recent research from the AJ100, published in June 2018, reveals the UK’s largest firms are becoming less male, with women now making up a third of architects.

Although the statistics are slowly improving, more needs to be done to make sure that both men and women are able to work successfully as architects.

I believe one of the reasons why we see such a divide at the moment is because the traditional way of working doesn’t support mothers. After years of training and experience, if architects have children the lack of flexibility means many are forced out of the profession.

But it’s not just working parents who can benefit from flexible working.

Through my own research, I’ve found 40 per cent or architects believe they are working too many hours, with a quarter wanting a better work-life balance. Over half have experienced stress, anxiety or other mental health issues due to working too much, and 15 per cent have faced discrimination as a result of asking for flexible working.

Flexible working and helping people achieve a better work-life balance is vital if we’re to look after the health and wellbeing of all architects.

What else I’m standing for as RIBA National Council candidate

Vote Lisa Raynes - RIBA Council 2018As part of my RIBA National Council manifesto, I also want to educate the public about the difference in roles and professions and communicate the value qualified, trained and experienced architects offer, as well as put a greater focus on activity in cities, towns and regions across the country.

A lot of the media focus and professional support for architects is still very London-based, and nearly 90 per cent of the architects I’ve spoken to say they want to see more support outside of the capital. I’m campaigning for this because good architecture should be accessible to all – not just those with large projects, big budgets and in London.

Please vote for me to represent you on the RIBA National Council

Architecture and construction as a whole are male dominated industries, and our buildings and communities are a reflection of that. To improve design and the built environment it’s so important that we build a more diverse and inclusive industry, which flexible working can support.

I’ve experienced first-hand how flexible working can benefit you professionally and personally, and I want to empower others to start their own businesses and achieve a better work-life balance.

If you have any questions about my manifesto and how I hope to help you as a member of the RIBA National Council, please comment or message me and I’ll be happy to discuss.

Find out more about my RIBA National Council manifesto here.