Management guru Peter Drucker once said "what's measured, improves". That's been a kind of mantra to us over the past few years. It's driven us to measure and share data points intended to map trends. We think it's a small contribution to improving the knowledge base the sector has on itself.
We think some of the data shows the sector performs well. Consider that in NSW, there are around 25,000 solicitors. Each year, the Legal Services Commission receives around 2,500 complaints against lawyers of one sort or another (yep, that's 10%).
By contrast, with around 3,900 practising architects in NSW, just 13 complaints were received by the Board last registration year (or 0.03%).
Good data can shine a light on where the sector excels. But data can also lie. Especially when you get it wrong.
Since 2009, the Board has used the wrong formula for what should be a simple calculation. Keen observers will find the figure on page 10 of our annual report where we publish a profile of the age and gender of the profession. Thanks to a call from Parlour, our error was pointed out. We checked. Parlour is right. We've been doing it wrong.
So what is the real picture?
On 30 June 2015 there were 3,930 practising architects in NSW. 1,004 were women. That’s 25.5% of the practising population. Add the non-practising architects (academics, retired, those operating in different fields), and the total population was 4,762 – of which 1,179 were women. That’s 24.7%.
So what's the Board doing to encourage greater gender balance in the sector, and more opportunity for women and those with flexible work needs?
In 2015 the Board adopted a new policy that allows architects who may have taken time out from practice to re-register in the practising category. For us, it's a mechanism designed to remove many of the barriers in re-connecting with the profession after a time away.
This year, for the first time in is 92 year history, all four candidates for the Architects Medallion, as nominated by the four schools of architecture, were women.
The Board has also appointed more women, and younger architects, as examiners to improve diversity in the cohort who help us admit new architects in to the profession (of 80 examiners, 26 are now women).
We can do better, and we will do better. We agree that what’s measured, improves. We think it starts with data. And most importantly, we know that data needs to be good data.