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Skills Needs in Buildings History and Garden History 2016-17

The report on Skills Needs in Buildings History and Garden History 2016-17 is available for download

Skills Needs in Buildings History and Garden History 2017


Executive Summary

The synthetic results presented here and in this report’s sister project, Survey of Archaeological Specialists 2016-17 (Aitchison 2017) allow for comparison between sub-sectors and across specialist areas in the Historic Environment sector. This report covers the results of a survey of buildings history and garden history specialists based on 408 responses.
The key findings of this survey are:

 Charges: Buildings history specialists charge day rates between £50 – £1,280 with a median of £350 and average of £394.
 Charges: Garden history specialists charge day rates between £120 – £800 with a median of £375 and an average of £383.
 Competition: Most specialists in both subsectors encounter moderate amounts of competition.
 Employers: 62.9% of buildings history and 52.7% of garden history specialists work for commercial companies.
 Employer type: Most of the specialists are either sole traders or work for larger organisations (with more than nine employees). Location: Both subsector specialists are based throughout the UK but the south of England and Scotland have the highest concentrations of specialists.
 Gender: Two thirds of both subsector specialists are male. However, this is related to age and there is gender parity between specialists under the age of 45.
 Age: The largest age cohort is those aged 55-64 in both specialisms.
 Ethnicity: Both subsectors are ethnically unrepresentative, with only one person of a non-white background working in them.
 Disability: There are also very low levels of building history and garden history specialists with stated disabilities.
 Qualifications gained: Roughly two-thirds of the specialists have a Masters degree, though few have a PhD.
 Retirement: 12% of buildings history or garden history specialists plan to retire in the next five years, with a further 25-30% planning on stopping working in these sectors in 6-10 years.
 Working hours: 70% of respondents work full-time, with those who are older more likely to work part-time.
 Waiting lists: Half of the specialists currently have waiting lists of work, indicating a mixed work situation in terms of demand.
 Qualifications needed: Buildings history and garden history specialists believe a Masters or undergraduate degree is required to become a specialist but not a PhD. The majority believe new entrants need 1-2+ years of experience and ongoing professional mentoring.
 Entry level training: Buildings history specialists typically consider that it is moderately difficult for new entrants to gain initial specialist training. Garden history specialist find it more difficult.
 CPD access: Respondents consider it to be moderately difficult to access training to facilitate their ongoing continuing professional development.
 CPD types: Reading professional publications, attending specialists’ conferences and taking refresher courses are the preferred routes to obtain CPD.
 Skills loss: No areas of buildings history or garden history are at risk of skills loss within the next five years.
 Skills loss 2: However, beyond the five-year horizon between 25-29% of respondents plan to retire in 6-10 years. In five years’ time it is therefore likely that there could be shortages in both fields.
 Future workload and Brexit effect: A large portion of buildings history and garden history specialists do not anticipate any changes in demand for their services in the near future. The anticipation of Brexit has no effect on these beliefs.

At the end of this report recommendations are made which set out possible actions for individual specialists, training providers and funding bodies to address some of the findings of this survey.


The report and project data have been accessioned to the Archaeology Data Service and are available at 

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