How much did UK archaeologists make in 2014-15? I have got the answers for you in the annual Jobs in British Archaeology report. This is the draft article, the final one will appear in The Archaeologist in the next couple of months. I am putting up a pre-print online to get feedback so the final article can be improved. This year I have moved away from averages and towards data visualisation. If you could let me know if the images make sense I would greatly appreciate it (you may need to click on the images to see them in full size).
Here is the pre-print-
Jobs in British Archaeology 2014-15
The financial year 2014-15 experienced record breaking hiring for archaeologists and some changes to the Jobs in British Archaeology (JIBA) series. More jobs were advertised for supervisor and officer level positions in the last year than at any point since 1993, when data was first collected. While, technician level positions saw the most advertisements since the boom years of 1999-2000. For those new to JIBA, the series is an annual article in The Archaeologists, and its predecessor the Field Archaeologists, that examines wages in UK Archaeology through data collected from job postings.
Most average wages have stayed stable; increasing roughly in line with inflation, some doing better than others. An exception is the private sector project managers/top level positions, after having significant growth before the Great Recession (2008-2010), rising to an average of roughly £30,000, they have since experienced almost zero wage growth in the last few years.
The Rise of the Trainee and the Exportation of UK Archaeologists
There has been an increase in the number of trainee positions advertised for fieldwork positions- enough to warrant their own category in this year’s JIBA. The cynical view of this development is that employers are trying to cut costs by paying lower wages and calling these cuts “trainee position”. However, through conversations with multiple archaeologists and taking into account new data that scenario is unlikely. During 2014-15 the number of jobs in Professional Archaeology increased by ~20% (Aitchison forthcoming) after many years of essentially zero growth or declining numbers which has resulted in employers not being able to find enough archaeologists. Or at least those with the required skills and experience may have left the profession during the last seven years and Universities are not providing students with enough skills to be professional archaeologists (McIntyre 2014). Moreover, a recent development in archaeology employment has seen a number of archaeologists taking up commercial work in Middle Eastern countries during the winter months. I am told the pay is better and the mild temperatures and sun in Emirates, Oman, etc. in winter is nicer than the mud, muck, rain, cold and lower pay of the UK.
These factors are combining to create a growing skill(s) and experience gap in professional archaeology.
CIfA and BAJR Minimum
Both BAJR and CIfA have minimum salary levels that advertisements must meet to be published on their job bulletins. CIfA has a minimum for each of its three different member levels, PCIfA, ACIfA and MCIfA. This last year David Connolly changed his BAJR minima from multiple different levels to have a single minimum for the Technician level, the CIfA comparable PCIfA level minimum. Currently, almost all PCIfA level positions advertised meet the combined PCIfA/BAJR minimum. In the case of the MCIfA minimum it appears most positions pay over this level as well. What is less clear is if the ACIfA minimum is being met. ACIfA accredited members are those ‘who have carried out, delegated or brought to conclusion pieces of work within the historic environment sector, with some autonomy but without holding ultimate responsibility’. A description that matches many at the supervisor level positions but as can been seen in Figure 1 not all of those positons will pay that.
How these numbers where obtained
As in previous years, estimated pay is calculated by analysing wages posted in job advertisements. It has been found that averaging the wages listed in job advertisements will produce an accurate portrait of wages in archaeology (Aitchison and Rocks-Macqueen 2013). There are limits to the positions that can be tracked by this method, primarily archaeologists employed by others. Freelance and self-employed archaeologists are not covered by this research.
Data was gathered from both the IfA Jobs Information Service (JIS), which as of December 2014 it is now the CIfA Jobs Information Service and Training (JIST), and British Archaeology Job Resource’s (BAJR) job postings from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015. The job adverts were provided by Lianne Birney (CIfA) and David Connolly (BAJR). Each job advertised was treated as a single data point, and adverts without pay rates were not counted. If an advert gave a specific number of positions i.e. 3x trainees, 2x supervisors, etc. then each position was counted as separate data points. However, if the number of positions open was not described each advert was counted as a single data point. When a salary range was given in a job advert, the middle point was used for the average wage and the lowest listed wage was used as the ‘starting wage’. For example, a salary advertised at £15k–16k would have an average of £15,500 and a starting wage of £15,000. All calculations are done on a pro rata basis i.e. if one work for a full year.
Changes to JIBA
Jobs have been categorised based on the description of the position. A description of those categories can be found in the 2013 JIBA (Rocks-Macqueen 2013). However, as mentioned in last year’s JIBA there have been a proliferation different job titles and the connection between titles and work is becoming tenuous. For example, the title ‘Project Manager’ implies management work but on a £15,000 salary it is doubtful that the person with this title would manager others. Junior and senior CRM/SMR positions have been combined into a single category because it is no longer possible to accurately discern whether a position is at a junior or senior level.
Another change this year takes into account that averages are not the best method for showing wage conditions. In the case of Technicians many will not stay with a single employer long enough to see pay increases and thus never realise the average wage using the JIBA method of calculating. In the case of managers the occasional very high pay for a senior position will skew the results due to the small sample size. Averages are calculated for historical reasons (table 1) to continue the 20 year time depth of data but figures 1, 2 and 3 demonstrate a superior presentation method. These figures present all of the salaries collected including those with ranges of pay. You will be able to see almost all technician level positions start at just over £17,000 and that most Officer level positions will not break £30k. Furthermore, you can see the range of pay offered.
Another change this year is that in an effort to unclutter JIBA some positions have been removed from the annual data collection. For example, only one of 33 advertised surveyor positions in 2014-15 was not from either the National Trust (including NT Scotland) or English Heritage. It makes little sense to track this data as there is no market to examine and it is easier to look at the pay scales of these two employers to understand pay rates. In the case of Archaeological Science positions comparing the wages of osteologists to that of geomorphologists or dendrochronologists is pointless. These positions are not advertised enough to have their own categories. As such this and other categories have been removed for this year’s JIBA. Illustrators have been included but given the low number of jobs advertised this category will likely be dropped in the future. There is simply not enough data to accurately present the salary situation for these types of positions.
Aitchison, K and Rocks-Macqueen, D. 2013 Archaeology labour market intelligence: Profiling the profession 2012-13. Landward Research Ltd
Aitchison, K Forthcoming Heritage Market Survey 2015
Rocks-Macqueen, D., 2013 Jobs in British Archaeology 2013
The Archaeologist No 89, Institute for Archaeologists
McIntyre, L. 2014 Preparing for professionalism: is a degree in archaeology really enough? https://youtu.be/YQTuuy9Ax1g
|Comm and Edu||Consultants||CRM/SMR||Geophys||Illustrators|
|# positions with wages advertised||41||21||105||20||6|
|# positions with wages advertised||18||99||57||57||25|
Table 1: Number of positions advertised in 2014-15 with wages, the average of those wages, the lowest wages advertised and highest possible wages advertised.
Figure 1: Graphical representation of range of salaries, from starting to high pay, collected in this year’s JIBA for commercial field and laboratory position job advertisements. Each line (rages of salary) or point (single salary number given) represents a single wage advertised.
Figure 2: Graphical representation of range of salaries, from starting to high pay, collected in this year’s JIBA for Community and Education, Consultant, Geophysical and Illustrator position job advertisements. Each line (rages of salary) or point (single salary number given) represents a single wage advertised.
Figure 3: Graphical representation of range of salaries, from starting to high pay, collected in this year’s JIBA for CRM/SMR position job advertisements. Each line (rages of salary) or point (single salary number given) represents a single wage advertised.