A/E Firms Report Overall Decline in Staff Counts

The ZweigWhite annual survey of financial performance at architecture and engineering firms in the US finds steady declines across the board.

Staff numbers at leading architecture, engineering (A/E) & environmental consulting firms have steadily declined this year, according to a new report released by ZweigWhite.

According to the recently released 2010 Financial Performance Survey, the overall median staff growth/decline rate dropped to -6.8% over the past year, indicating an overall decline in staff count. Staff growth or decline is the percentage increase or decrease in the number of staff over 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 firm’s balance sheets,” says John Soter, Principal, ZweigWhite Strategic Advisory Services. “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 & 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.

More information: ZweigWhite.