Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Generational forces are challenging effective ownership/leadership transitions.

Over the next decade or so, we can expect a 15 percent decline in 35 to 44-year-olds, while at the same time, the population of firm principals is rapidly shrinking.

True too, the psychological contract is changing. Today’s employees (called Generation X and Millennials) haven’t the loyalty that their veteran grandparents had. They value opportunity, and seek it elsewhere if that’s where it is.

Finally, our industry is facing a shortage of new recruits. A 2009 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) found that 85 percent of young people between 8 and 17 weren’t interested in engineering as a career, and their parents weren’t encouraging it. On top of that, a 2009 Georgetown/Rutgers study found that the “top quintile SAT/ACT and GPA performers appear to have been dropping out of the [science/engineering] pipeline … [a decline that] seems to have come on quite suddenly in the mid-to-late 1990s.”

The solution is in careful recruitment, starting at the college level, and careful cultivation of in-house employees.

Where to find those recruits?  Here are some resources you can tap for new people:

n  Referrals from existing employees
n  Former employees
n  College placement offices
n  Online job boards (e.g., LinkedIn)
n  Advertising in national and local publications
n  Co‑op programs
n  Referrals from past employees
n  Contingency fee employment agencies
n  Retainer-type executive search firms
n  Outplacement companies
n  Referrals from suppliers
n  Referrals from friends and relatives
n  Promotion from within your firm

Where did you find your most recent star talent?  Let us know!


Melissa Bennett said...
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Melissa Bennett said...

What are the statistics for architects? Principals don't retire and the workforce is aging, no different than previous generations. Where are the young architects going now after they flooded the schools in the 2000's?

PSMJ Resources, Inc. said...

Hi Melissa. Thanks for the comment. Great question regarding where architects have gone. Some of this is driven by basic supply and demand. As demand shrunk considerably with the recession, some architects just fled to other opportunities (e.g. working for developers or just leaving the A/E industry completely).

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