Valuing the Profession

Archaeology in action

Archaeology in action

Archaeology as a profession is a tough place to work, with pay and conditions well below standard. The feeling that archaeologists do their job as a vocation and are not interested in the money is, in some ways, a sound point; I don’t know any archaeologists who entered the profession to make a fortune but I know plenty, myself included, who anticipated things like career progression, pay rises and earning enough to live on, perhaps even settle down, buy a house and start a family.

The IfA recently made an interesting decision to scrap the requirement for registered organisations to meet specified minimum salaries. At the time, I thought this was a horrendous decision being driven by commercial units in an attempt to cut costs further and stay in business. The IfA have now announced their follow up to this, which will take the form of an open meeting with contributions from IfA Council, FAME and Prospect. So here is a chance to get involved in the process through an open meeting to be held after the conference.

The IfA are advertising it as follows:

IfA is hosting an open forum to discuss the improvement of pay and conditions across the archaeological profession. In January, IfA Council made the decision to remove the absolute requirement for Registered Organisations to meet IfA salary minima. This decision was made alongside strong confirmation of IfA’s commitment to the improvement of pay and conditions, reiterated by a unanimous vote by Council to increase salary minima by 3.1%. While recognising the need to support both employees and employers increasing pay, Council made the decision to take a different tack: in order to have a sustainable impact, the profession needs to find a workable solution together.

Representatives from FAME and Prospect will be joining members of IfA Council in an open discussion. All three organisations have indicated that they believe that remuneration across the sector is not commensurate with skills or responsibilities; and all three will present their current policy on how they intend to address the issue. Each will answer three questions

  1. what is your current remit?
  2. what can you organisation do?
  3. what will your organisation do in the next 12 months?

This meeting provides an opportunity for all practitioners to question the policies presented, and present their own ideas on how the profession – as a whole – can move this issue forward.

The meeting takes place on Friday 19 April at 15:30 at the Lakeside Conference Centre, University of Aston, Birmingham, B4 7ET. The forum takes place after the close of IfA conference, and is open to anyone wishing to attend free of charge. The discussion encourages the widest participation possible, and if you can’t get to Birmingham, there will be other ways of putting your views forward on the day.

Please register your intent to come to the meeting by emailing, so we can keep an eye on numbers. You do not have to be registered to come to the IfA conference to attend this meeting, and it is free of charge. There are limited spaces, so if you want to come along please let us know as soon as possible.