State of the Archaeological Market 2021

FAME has published the 2021 State of the Archaeological Market report, produced by Kenneth Aitchison and Doug Rocks-Macqueen of Landward Research.

The report is on the year from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021 – almost exactly coinciding with the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact in the UK. And during that first pandemic year, archaeology expaned remarkably – staff sizes, turnover and profitability all increased across the sector, in no small part due to the governmental ‘protection’ of the construction industry. 

Download State of the Archaeological Market 2021 here.

Key Results for 2020-21 

Financial year 2020-21 almost exactly matches the first year that the UK economy
was impacted by the effects and constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during
that time commercial archaeology expanded in terms of staffing, workload, revenue
and profitability. 

Overall future market sentiment was positive, with more employers expecting market
improvement in 2021-22 than deterioration, and most expected to increase their
staff complements. However, the overwhelming majority of employers had vacancies
that had been hard to fill. 

Of the archaeologists working in contracting and consulting in the UK, 86% were UK nationals and 11% were EU nationals.

4,700 people worked in UK commercial archaeology in 2021.

The sector reported an aggregate profit level of 7.1% for 2020-21.

Average turnover per member of staff was £52,528.

85% of commercial archaeologists have permanent contracts of employment.

Residential development was the largest market sector for commercial archaeology in 2020-21 as it had been in every previous year except 2019-20.

The UK commercial archaeology sector is valued at £247 million in 2020-21.

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