News
Billable Hours Down, Hiring Up in Latest ASLA Business Quarterly Survey
2011-01-26
Washington, D.C., January 26, 2011 – The fourth quarter of 2010 represented a mixed bag for landscape architecture firms, as firm leaders reported fewer billable hours but increased hiring opportunities, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey. The findings echo the results from the 4Q 2009 survey, though billable hours, inquiries and hiring all strengthened from this time last year.

Six in 10 respondents reported stable or higher amount of billable hours (59.6 percent) and inquiries for new work (59.4 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2010 – a decline of six and ten points, respectively from the third quarter survey. At this time last year, 45.5 percent reported stable or rising billable hours, and 53.7 percent reported stable or rising inquiries.  

Also like last year, the fourth quarter 2010 saw a modest increase in job opportunities for landscape architects. One in five (20.7 percent) respondents plan to hire in the upcoming quarter, up from 14.6 percent last quarter and 16.4 percent a year ago.   

“Despite signs of recovery, continued layoffs, lowered fees, and strong competition for few projects made this past year one of the toughest on record for the industry,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “We’re confident that the worse of the recession is behind us, but improvement will be frustratingly slow.”

The survey also asked about firm work with federally funded projects. Overall, 40 percent of firm leaders indicated that they worked on projects that were partially or fully funded by the government within the past two years. One in ten (9.8 percent) respondents reported working on Green Project Reserve green infrastructure projects under the Stimulus Bill.    

Compared to the third quarter 2010, your fourth quarter 2010 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 6.7%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 22.1%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 30.1%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 17.4%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 23.6%

Compared to the third quarter 2010, your fourth quarter 2010 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 6.4%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 24.0%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 29.0%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 19.3%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 21.3%

Year to year, compared to the fourth quarter in 2009, your fourth quarter 2010 billable hours were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 15.8%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 22.3%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 20.5%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 17.8%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 23.8%

Year to year, compared to the fourth quarter in 2009, your fourth quarter 2010 inquiries for new work were:
Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 13.6%
Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 25.4%
About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 23.4%
Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 18.1%
Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 19.4%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the fourth quarter of 2010 (multiple answers)?
Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 4.8%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry-level landscape architect – 6.3%
Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 3.8%
Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 4.0%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 5.5%
Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 3.8%
No, we’re not currently hiring – 79.3%

Has your firm worked on stormwater management projects using green infrastructure or low impact development in the last year, or do you expect to in within the next six months?
Yes – 64.9%
No – 35.1%

In the past two years, did your firm work on any projects that were the result of or spurred by a federal government program or federal funding?
Yes – 40.0%
No – 60.0%

Did your firm work on any projects that were the result of or were funded in part by the Green Project Reserve within the Stimulus Bill?
Yes – 9.8%
No – 90.2%

About the Survey
The ASLA Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries and hiring plans. The Q4 2010 national survey was fielded January 4 through 24, with 408 firm representatives responding.



contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

share this
Join Button