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HomeNewsArchaeologists in Financial Crisis - BAJR Survey 2022

Archaeologists in Financial Crisis – BAJR Survey 2022

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The following report is based on the responses of 755 individuals in UK archaeology, was never going to be an easy read, and there is no sugar coating the statistics that have been collected, analysed and collated by Lu Stanton-Greenwood.  We should acknowledge that the concept was first mooted by Liz Tideswell; David Connolly created the survey questions, and poll; Gwilym Williams offered professional support and opinions.  Without all of us, and all those that replied to this survey, there would be no report.


Report (pdf)
Raw Data (xlsx)
Comments (warning – many of these are distressing) (pdf)
Survey questions (pdf)


There is no simple solution, nor is there any simple way out, and sadly, things could be worse and are heading that way rapidly.   We wanted to know the truth, and now we do; British Archaeology is slowly suffocating itself, depriving itself of talent and dedication by the simple expedient of providing little vestige of hope to make enough money to break even, let alone thrive.  We have heard too often the excuse that wages are low, because the margins are too slim, that other companies will undercut, or that company benefits more than make up for lower rates of pay.   This is a security blanket to hide from and ignore the reality.   As for benefits, you can’t pay for food with 50% off gym membership, you can’t turn on heating this winter with a Bike to Work scheme or a free eye test.  The simple fact is that this report’s findings are a final wake up call to our industry.   People are struggling at all levels, in all parts of the profession, people are going hungry, people are unable to save, people are at the limits of surviving.   Mental health issues are also now endemic in archaeology, and frequent reports come to us of self-medication, with both physical and mental collapse seen now as normal.

There is some hope though, as recently, Cotswolds Archaeology raised all their rates with Trainees starting on £22,222 and Experienced Archaeologists from £24,052.   I singled them out, as they obviously saw how the crushing costs of living was impacting their staff and responded decisively.  One has to ask the question, how is it that they can now pay field staff more than many companies pay their supervisors?

After two decades of building a sector heavily reliant on European workers attracted here by better job security (within the sector), and insufficient investment in the future, it is unsurprising that we are at a crunch-point.  If we can’t staff sites in the coming 12-18 months, how long will it be before developers and infrastructure consortiums start crying out to be released from those historic environment requirements which are now delaying essential projects?

So if there is one thing that we can urge, it is that this key report acts as the catalyst for all of us to work together to make a profession that is worth the time, effort and money that each person has invested into becoming an archaeologist.  PROSPECT, CIfA, FAME, ALGAO and all other stakeholders; companies, national organisations and universities – the time has never been more pressing, and we must all accept that change is needed NOW!

RESOURCES:

Report (pdf)
Raw Data (xlsx)
Comments (warning – many of these are distressing) (pdf)
Survey questions (pdf)

I rely a lot on my partner’s income. Previously we could manage Now- our letting agent has asked for a 35% rent increase this year. I… don’t think it will be possible for me to pursue archaeology anymore.

 

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