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ASLA Survey Reveals Improved Business Conditions

May 6, 2014

Significant jump in inquiries for new work; slight decline in billings; more firms plan to hire.

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Landscape architecture firms are reporting overall stability, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects’ first quarter 2014 Business Quarterly survey. The survey indicated a quarter-to-quarter surge in inquiries from potential clients for new work, with a slight dip in billable hours. Hiring plans grew slightly from the last quarter.

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Fully 80.2 percent reported stable to significantly higher inquiries for work, representing an increase from 74.9 percent last quarter. In addition, 72.2 percent of firm representatives responding indicated stable to higher billable hours in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 75.7 percent last quarter.

Year to year, 83.4 percent claimed stable to significantly higher first-quarter inquiries from potential clients for new project work, slightly higher than the first quarter of 2013 (81.4 percent). Additionally, 76 percent indicated first-quarter billable hours remained about the same or were higher, about the same as the first quarter of 2013 (76.1 percent).

Of all firms with two or more employees, nearly half (49.4 percent) indicated they plan to hire in the second quarter of 2014, slightly more than the previous quarter (48.5 percent). Some 42.9 percent of firms with 10 to 49 employees will be hiring an entry-level landscape architect in the second quarter of 2014.

The survey also asked respondents to rank what satisfies them about a career in the landscape architecture profession. The challenge of enhancing communities’ resilience and their ability to withstand natural disasters and weather extremes (8.5 average rating) was cited as the top reason. Others included promoting healthy living (7.0 average rating) and creating green space in urban settings (6.60 average rating).

Key Survey Highlights:

Compared to the fourth quarter 2013, your first quarter 2014 billable hours were:

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 15.1%

Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 31.2%

About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 25.9%

Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 17.6%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 10.2%

Compared to the fourth quarter 2013, your first quarter 2014 inquiries for new work were:

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 19.8%

Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 34.3%

About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 26.1%

Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 13.0%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 6.8%

Year to year, compared to the first quarter in 2013, your first quarter 2014 billable hours were:

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 21.6%

Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 26.5%

About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 27.9%

Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 13.7%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 10.3%

Year to year, compared to the first quarter in 2013, your first quarter 2014 inquiries for new work were:

Significantly higher (more than 10%) – 26.2%

Slightly higher (5 to 10% higher) – 32.0%

About the same (plus or minus 5%) – 25.2%

Slightly lower (5 to 10% lower) – 11.7%

Significantly lower (more than 10%) – 4.9%

Do you plan on hiring any employees in the second quarter of 2014 (multiple answers)?

Yes, we’ll be hiring an experienced landscape architect – 6.5%

Yes, we’ll be hiring an entry-level landscape architect – 15.4%

Yes, we’ll be hiring an intern – 18.9%

Yes, we’ll be hiring support staff – 6.0%

Yes, we’ll be hiring other design/architecture/engineering staff – 11.4%

Yes, we’ll be hiring other staff – 5.5%

No, we’re not currently hiring – 58.2%

I am satisfied in my career in the landscape architecture profession for the following reasons (rank all that apply in order of priority with number one being the most important). Ratings average follow, from highest to lowest.

    1. I like the challenge of enhancing communities' resilience - their ability
       to withstand natural disasters and weather extremes - 8.50
    2. Promoting healthy living is a priority for me. - 7.00
    3. Creating green space in urban settings is a priority for me. - 6.60
    4. I like helping solve societal problems such as those related to public
       health and environmental sustainability - 6.56
    5. I find it rewarding to help communities become more competitive in
       attracting businesses and investor dollars - 6.37
    6. Protecting the environment is a priority for me. - 6.24
    7. My work results in increased opportunities for people in urban and
       suburban areas to choose a more active lifestyle - 5.82
    8. I enjoy collaborating with community members, policy makers, and
       specialists from different professions - 5.46
    9. Landscape architecture can help protect ecological systems while at the
       same time fostering a human connection to and interaction with nature -
       5.30
    10. I am helping urban areas be more environmentally friendly and
        sustainable - 4.89
    11. I enjoy the opportunity to be creative in my job - 3.21

About the Survey

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Business Quarterly survey asks quarterly benchmarks on key statistics including billable hours, inquiries, and hiring plans. The Q1 2014 national survey was fielded April 10 to April 30, 2014, with 209 primary firm contacts responding.

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SOURCE American Society of Landscape Architects


Source: PR Newswire



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