Big picture reveals firms holding steady despite fourth-quarter setback; strong plans to hire
Landscape architecture firms experienced a fourth-quarter dip in 2015, according to the latest American Society of Landscape Architects’ Business Quarterly survey. Still, a comparison of this survey with fourth-quarter survey results from the last four years shows that the landscape architecture industry is actually holding steady—with a majority of respondents, 83.94 percent, stating that business conditions for 2015 were doing as good or better than during the previous year, and plans to hire were the highest recorded for a fourth quarter survey in five years.
The survey found that 74.47 percent reported stable to significantly higher billable hours, a drop from 83.40 percent the previous quarter. This result is similar to what had been reported during the fourth quarters of 2013 (75.7 percent) and 2014 (74.67 percent). It is higher than the fourth quarters of 2011 (62.6 percent) and 2012 (66.5 percent).
Some 71.73 percent said inquiries for new work were stable to significantly higher, another drop from 81.56 in the third quarter. However, it is a result similar to what had been reported during the fourth quarter of 2012 (74.2 percent), 2013 (74.4 percent) and 2014 (76.5 percent).
Year to year, 81.66 percent of firms indicated stable to significantly higher fourth-quarter billable hours, a slight decrease from the fourth quarter of 2014 (84.64 percent) but on par with the fourth quarter of 2013 (81.5 percent). Additionally, 81.21 percent said inquiries for new work were stable to significantly higher, a drop from the fourth quarter of 2014 (87.51 percent), but close to the 81.5 percent reported for the fourth quarter of 2013.
The majority of respondents (83.94 percent) described business conditions for 2015 as stable to significantly better than the previous year. This number is a drop from what had been reported during the fourth quarter of 2014 (87.51 percent), but much higher than 2013 (68.4 percent).
Some 51.42 percent of firms with two or more employees stated that they planned to hire during the first quarter of 2016, a jump from the previous quarter (48 percent), and the highest recorded for a fourth-quarter survey in five years. Some 47.23 percent of firms with 10 to 49 employees will be hiring landscape architects, both experienced and entry-level.
The survey also asked firms about student internships. Fully 62.96 percent of firms with two or more employees said they offer such internships. Some 81.40 percent of firms with two or more employees say they pay their interns.
For more key survey highlights, visit the ASLA’s website.