Employee attraction and retention are on everyone’s mind in this era of increased competition for talent. To address this concern, some firm leaders are exploring a provocative idea: pay transparency. They see pay transparency as a potentially powerful tool for engendering trust within their organizations and addressing the well-documented gender and minority wage gaps in our profession.
The Design Colloquium for Design-First Firms is a unique forum where leaders of exceptional firms in architecture, engineering, and related design disciplines gather in an intimate setting to exchange ideas and experiences with their peers. The program is hosted by Cameron MacAllister Group, who coined the term Design-First to refer to practices that have maintained a consistently high level of design quality, while not dependent on a black-cape superstar.
We saw it coming, of course. It was just a question of when. But still, this kind of behavior continues to have the power to shock. I’m talking about the revelation that Richard Meier, the consummate postmodern modern architect, has been accused of a pattern of sexual harassment, and in at least one case, assault. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe famously quipped that god is in the details, so as I sit here stunned, speechless, sad, I find myself focusing on the details of this story.
But, wait, you’re thinking. Me? How could I be prejudiced? I’m a well-educated, forward-thinking Bay Area resident, a member of an historically persecuted minority, and a card-carrying member of the ACLU! Heck, my formative years were spent memorizing the soundtrack of “Free to Be, You and Me!” I’m not prejudiced!
A fresh wave of outrage filled my Facebook feed last night in response to a lack of gender diversity in the recently announced keynote speaker line-up at the upcoming AIA National Convention in Orlando. The roster of speakers lacks diversity, which is a sad, and unfortunately accurate, reflection of the composition of our profession.
“For a woman to go out alone in architecture is still very, very hard,” the architect Zaha Hadid said. “It’s still a man’s world.” Ms. Hadid often stated that she did not want to serve as a symbol of progress for women in her profession. But, inevitably, she did.
After Dame Zaha Hadid’s sudden death was announced last week, the design blogosphere began asking what she and her work meant to female architects. For many, apparently, the answer is that Zaha was a role model who cracked the glass ceiling and showed us just what is possible for female architects to achieve in this new millennium.