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The AEC Industry Job Market Update

The United States. Department of Labor- Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a Monthly Jobs Report after the beginning of each month. Each report describes the previous month's employment statistics, based on data including the number of jobs that were added to the economy and the unemployment rate.

Per the February Jobs Report, the US economy saw an increase of 313,000 jobs this past month and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the 5th consecutive month. 

Overall, February's report was viewed in a positive light. 

  • Job creation greatly surpassed expectations
  • Job growth has been consistently strong in recent months 
  • The labor force participation rate is back up to 63%
  • Average hourly earnings rose 2.6% year-over-year

The Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase of 61,000 jobs within the construction industry. The construction industry had the strongest month of job growth since 2007, which was responsible for 1/5 of the new job creation.

According to Architect Magazine, the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry as a whole is trending upward. 

  • Architectural and engineering services added 5,600 jobs  
  • Nonresidential building construction jobs increased by 8,900
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction increased by 7,500 jobs
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New Federal Laws for Overtime Pay in Architecture

Looming changes to federal overtime rules could have a lasting impact on the architectural industry, particularly among firms that expect junior employees to work long hours for low salaries.

Beginning December 1, salaried workers who earn up to $47,476 a year must be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours during the week. The previous cutoff was $23,660 a year. The new rule applies to companies of all sizes, affecting most employees, including those working in creative fields like architecture.

The changes could rattle industries that have long used a federal exemption for so-called “creative professionals” to avoid paying some workers overtime. The Labor Depart­ment currently gives businesses wide latitude in deciding who meets the criteria. But under the new rules, no one making less than $47,476 a year could be considered a creative professional exempt from overtime.

Critics worry that the changes could unfairly burden businesses, particularly smaller ones with less financial flexibility. But supporters insist that overhauling outdated labor rules will improve working conditions and ultimately encourage firms to think more carefully about how they run their businesses.

“Architecture is but one of many industries that for decades has gotten a free ride because of the weakness of the regulations,” says Judy Conti, the federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “This new regulation is going to set a salary guideline that is much more in line with a professional salary.”

In 2015, the median annual salary for a first-­year intern architect was $42,000, and $46,000 for a second-year intern, according to a survey by the American Institute of Architects. To comply with the law, employers will have to give employees raises, start paying overtime, or scale back hours. “People are going to get either more money or more hours of their lives back,” says Conti. “Both of those are good things.”

In 2013, Alexandre Hamlyn earned $2,000 a month working 50 hours a week at a large architecture firm in New York. Teams working on competitions put in 90-hour weeks, without additional pay, he said. “Because you don’t get overtime, then the time is not really valued,” says Hamlyn, 27. “So they just make you work and work and work.” Hamlyn, who is now an intern architect in Montreal and paid hourly, requested that the name of the firm be withheld, since he considers the problem endemic to the industry.

Firms may soon have to pay more attention to how their businesses operate, scrutinizing how much they charge clients and how late employees stay at the office. “If you don’t have abor laws, you’re not going to understand how labor actually figures into your business plan,” says Peggy Deamer, professor at the Yale School of Architecture and a principal at Deamer Architects. “That kind of loose, naive take [on labor] goes hand in hand with a discipline that doesn’t see itself as a business, but sees itself as an art.”

But other architects interviewed for this story say few of their colleagues are discussing the changes, and some are unaware that labor laws even apply to salaried employees. Several firms declined to comment, including Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Robert A.M. Stern Architects. “Folks at firms aren’t too enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts on the potential impact of the new rule,” Matthew Tinder, a spokesperson for AIA, said in an e-mail. The AIA declined to comment any further.

Critics of the changes argue that architecture salaries are often lower than other skilled professions because of the nature of the business. “Our clients don’t want to pay the higher fees,” says Craig Williams, the chief legal officer of HKS Architects, describing the new rules as a government intrusion on the private sector. Some firms will have to raise client fees, potentially making it difficult to compete against firms that can absorb higher labor costs. “There is always someone down the street who’s willing to take a project on for a lower fee,” Williams said.

But clients might be willing to pay more, particularly in a heady real-estate market where architecture is in demand. By giving employees a raise, firms might end up getting one too. Rena Klein, the principal of RM Klein Consulting, which works with small architecture firms, says: “Along with people being underpaid, people are undervaluing themselves in the marketplace.” 

 

Source: Architectural Record

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Hotel Construction Projected to be Strong Through 2017

It’s all good if you’re in the hotel business.

Occupancy rates in the U.S. are expected to remain at record levels through 2017, according to PKF Hospitality Research|CBRE Hotels, which also projects room rates to increase by 5.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this year and next.

With demand exceeding supply, developers are expected to deliver 103,230 hotel rooms in 865 projects in 2016, according to the latest Comprehensive Pipeline Summary from the market research firm STR.

Through November 2015, the existing supply of hotel rooms nationwide stood at 5,031,859. A total of 457,606 rooms were under construction or in various planning stages.

For all the talk about the rise in demand and construction of luxury hotels, STR foresees the greatest number of hotel rooms—53,725 rooms—being delivered in the “upper midscale” classification, followed by 43,150 “upscale” room deliveries. Conversely, STR estimates that only 15 luxury hotels with 3,468 rooms are expected to open this year.

New York, with an existing supply of 117,367 rooms, leads the nation with 80 hotels and 13,583 rooms under construction, followed by Houston (with 79,255 existing rooms and 6,269 under construction), Dallas (79,572; 4,361), Los Angeles/Long Beach (98,186; 4,240), and Washington, D.C. (107,776; 3,949).

Jan Freitag, STR’s Senior Vice President of Lodging Insights, told USA Today that while room construction was up 21% over a year ago, the 1.5% increase in rooms opening in 2016 would still be below the longer-term annual average of 1.9%

Along from rising customer demand, hotel construction is being driven by room rate appreciation. For example, in Greater Sacramento, Calif., where hotel occupancy rates exceed 77% and where at least 19 hotels are under construction, the average room rates set a record in October at $116.67 per night, up 10.6% from a year earlier, according to PKF Consulting.

However, there’s always the concern that booms will eventually overheat some markets. In Central Dallas, where at least 14 hotels are slated to open between fall 2015 and the end of 2018, investors were bullish about their projects but wondered just how many rooms the market could absorb. 

“I can’t remember when we’ve ever had that influx of hotel rooms, certainly in recent history,” said John Crawford, who heads Downtown Dallas Inc., which advocates for downtown development. “And I’ve been in this market for the last 35 years.”

Source: BD+C Network

AEC Resources can identify, attract, evaluate and secure Designers, Architects and Project Managers for your next hotel project. We understand the hospitality market and regularly recruit for this market sector. Contact us so speak with an architecture recruiter today.

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Companies Use Recruiters for Hiring Speed

Many architecture, building engineering, and construction companies outsource some or all of their job openings to a recruiter. The number one reason for doing so is speed; they want the job filled fast.

The recent findings of a Society for Human Resource Management survey indicate the majority of respondents turned to recruiters because there was a need to hire quickly. The next leading reason to leverage an outside recruiter was to gain access to an agency's talent and recruiting expertise. 

There are great disparities in the speed at which architecture recruiting agencies in Minneapolis / St. Paul can fill positions. AEC Resources' average time-to-hire is currently 18.7 days. This is the time it takes us to fill an open position from the day we receive it. 

You work with a staffing agency and a recruiter to quickly and easily fill open positions, which is why our process emphasizes speed and quality of talent. If you are evaluating temp agencies for architects and engineers, work with a company that focuses on AEC positions only, and reap the rewards of a highly specialized process that delivers great people - fast.

The recruiters at AEC Resources can help you quickly fill the following positions: Architect, Architectural Intern, Project Architect, Project Manager, Drafter, Designer, Drafting Technician, Mechanical Engineer, Structural Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Engineer In Training (EIT), CAD/BIM/VDC positions, and many more.

 

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Nationwide Job Openings Increased 2.89% in April

Job listings in the U.S. rose 2.89% month-to-month in April, up from month-to-month increases of 1.38% in March and 2.47% in February, according to Simply Hired's April 2015 U.S. Employment Outlook.

Twenty-four of the Top 25 major metro areas saw an increase in job listings, and there were nearly 20% more full-time permanent entry-level positions available than the same time last year.

About 5% of all job listings were targeted at new college graduates, which includes entry level drafters and technicians, as well as Intern Architects and Engineers in Training (EITs).

Job openings increased in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. metros in April 2015. Pittsburgh and the Seattle and Tacoma, WA, area experienced the largest month-to-month gains at 5.27% and 4.94%, respectively. A notable exception was Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, which saw a small dip in job openings (-0.29%) over this period.

With a hyper competitive AEC job market and extended time-to-fill statistics, rely on AEC Resources to help you quickly secure high caliber candidates for your open positions. We excel in providing temp help and recruiting for architects, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, structural engineering and civil engineering. 

 

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