Archaeology labour market intelligence: market surveys and profiling the profession

CIfA works with a range of partners, including Historic England and FAME to ensure that accurate labour market intelligence is available for the sector. Initiatives include Profiling the Profession, designed to gather information about everybody working in archaeology and the historic environment and repeated at 5 yearly intervals and the Archaeological Market Surveys, which provide a snapshot of the market for archaeological services on an annual basis.

Market surveys

This series of Archaeological market surveys collects data on the market for archaeological services on an annual basis. The surveys are undertaken by Landward Research Ltd on behalf of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, FAME and Historic England and provide invaluable information on the nature of the archaeological market and its contribution to the UK economy.

Profiling the profession

The economic transformation since 2007-08 significantly affected employment in archaeology, resulting in the sector being considerably smaller in 2012-13 than it was in 2007-08. With an overall response rate of 224 from a population of 511 potential respondents contacted, at a confidence level of 95% this level of response is accurate to +/- 4.9%.

Over 2000 employers and individual archaeologists were asked to submit data for their organisation as it related on 13 August 2007.
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists was funded to undertake this project by the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci II fund, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments and the Environment and Heritage Service (DoE Northern Ireland).

Profiling the profession 2007–08 is part of a wider project, Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe, which is collecting data on archaeological employment in ten European countries, with funding from the Leonardo da Vinci II fund. The European project will contrast employment in the different countries and examine the opportunities for and obstacles to individual archaeologists’ employment in countries other than their own.

This was a survey and assessment of employment within professional archaeology in the UK. It aimed to identify, collect, quantify and disseminate labour market information on the archaeology sector. For employers, it provided comprehensive, up-to-date information to aid business planning and improve organisational performance and competitiveness. For individual archaeologists it also provided information that identifies their own position within the profession, and can inform their own personal career decision-making, such as information on training needs, skills shortages and skills gaps, details of the nature and extent of the archaeology sector, including accurate employment figures, information on occupations including potential recruitment and career progression difficulties, labour market trends and issues including training investment and supply and other financial, business and staffing issues.
This report addressed the whole of the archaeology profession and included volunteers (unpaid staff) along with those in paid employment.

The first profiling the profession was the first comprehensive survey ever conducted into archaeological employment in the UK. It was undertaken with seven objectives:

  • to identify the numbers of professional archaeologists working in Britain
  • to analyse whether the profession is growing, static or shrinking
  • to identify the range of jobs
  • to identify the numbers employed in each job type
  • to identify the range of salaries, and terms and conditions, applying to each job type
  • to identify differences in employment patterns between different geographical areas
  • to help those seeking to enter the profession