A/E firms report overall decline in staff counts in annual survey

WAYLAND, MASS. — Staff numbers at leading architecture, engineering (A/E) and environmental consulting firms have steadily declined this year, according to a new report released by ZweigWhite. According to the 2010 Financial Performance Survey, the overall median staff growth/decline rate dropped to -6.8 percent during the last year, indicating an overall decline in staff count.
 
Staff growth or decline is the percentage increase or decrease in the number of staff during the course of one year. It includes all staff — professional/technical and administrative. ZweigWhite's Financial Performance Survey also shows voluntary and involuntary turnover performance by specialty, firm size, and region, as well as in aggregate.
 
"The year 2009 proved to be a major test of the resilience of A/E firms’ balance sheets," says John Soter, principal of ZweigWhite Strategic Advisory Services, who provides an in-depth forward to the 2010 Financial Performance Survey. "Backlogs have lessened and, in many cases, are smaller in early 2010 than they were at the same time in 2009. Most AEC firms experienced staff turnover at a higher rate than at any time in the past decade. Many were forced to lay off staff, reduce hours, or have furloughs."
 
ZweigWhite's Financial Performance Survey of A/E/P and Environmental Consulting Firms is based on an in-depth, nationwide survey for which participants completed detailed income statements and balance sheets, and provides a wealth of financial data. Information is broken out by firm type, size, region of headquarters, growth rate, and client base so that firms may make apples-to-apples comparisons. Additional topics covered include finance and accounting staff, contracts, professional liability insurance, and more. This report can serve as a guide for any firm setting financial performance goals or comparing the performance of different firms against industry norms.
 
An electronic report or printed book is available for purchase from ZweigWhite at www.zweigwhite.com/p-879-financial-performance-survey-2010.aspx.


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