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Landscape architecture firms getting busy, survey shows

May 7, 2013 -  By

Landscape architecture firms may soon see an uptick in business, the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) first quarter 2013 Business Quarterly survey reveals.

Firms reported a surge in inquiries from potential clients for new work, as well as more stable or rising billable hours. As a result, plans for hiring are underway, respondents said.

The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics that include billable hours, inquiries and hiring plans. For this survey, contacts from 219 primary firms responded to questioning conducted from April 1 to 24.

More than 60 percent of those asked reported slightly to significantly higher inquiries for work, up from 42 percent last quarter. In addition, 76 percent of firm representatives responding indicated stable to higher billable hours in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 67 percent last quarter.

Year to year, 60 percent of respondents claimed slightly to significantly higher first-quarter inquiries from potential clients for work on new projects. Billable hours remained about the same or were higher for 76 percent of those asked.

Hiring is on the to-do lists of more than half the companies questioned. Fifty-five percent of the firms with two or more employees indicated they would be hiring in the second quarter of 2013, compared with 42 percent last quarter. Slightly more than 30 percent of firms with two or more employees said they plan to hire a landscape architect, either entry-level or experienced, next quarter, an increase from the previous 25 percent.

“The larger number of inquiries for new work is a welcome sign of a brightening economic picture, and more members are expressing confidence by hiring more staff,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville. “We are continuing to see incremental signs of improvement and believe that, at last, things are moving forward for the landscape architecture profession.”

The survey also asked firms about their recruiting and retention efforts. The most popular benefits used to recruit and retain top talent are a flexible work schedule (72 percent), health insurance (61 percent) a competitive salary (60 percent) and a 401(k) plan (52 percent).

As for their views on diversity, 66 percent of firms agreed that a diverse workforce provides competitive value and success, and they said partnering with local schools and colleges was the main strategy used to recruit a diverse staff.

LM Staff

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