Bring On The New Year – Please!

December 29, 2009 at 9:29 pm 2 comments

By Carol A. Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

This past year has been challenging for many in the A/E/P community and everyone associated with it. At least once a day I am asked “Where do you see the market heading in 2010? Do you see the job market picking up?” After 20+ years recruiting civil engineers, architects and planners I look into my crystal ball and my past civil engineering blogs and try to answer.  The answers usually depend on the daily changing news from my clients and various news sources.  Do I see an increase in hiring from my clients? Yes.  However, these needs are very specific. They are either strategic discipline hires or for candidates who meet their requirements exactly.  There is little to no flexibility in candidate experience.

Our community is watching President Obama and the US Congress. Workforce planning has become a guessing game for operations and human resources executives. Should firms hire for potential jobs or for projects awarded that have tentative start dates? Or, should firms implement overtime for existing staff and hold on making new hires? Tough questions. In either case, job seekers at all levels are discussing where to go next or what to do.

Many of us have minimal control over whether firms move forward in bringing on new staff.  So let’s take control over what we can manage.  If you are unhappy with your job, need a job or have let your job search go stale – take control and make or redesign a plan. If you need new clients – make a new plan. Whether you gain education, identify a recruiter to assist, join new associations for networking or apply to specific companies who have projects in your area of interest…just take action.  Our January newsletter author, Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP, CPESC, CPSWQ, poses the question “What will it take for you to make 2010 a ‘Career Year’?” This is a worthwhile read.

As 2009 comes to a close, I have one thing left to say, “Bring on the New Year – Please!”


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Entry filed under: Career Development, Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Companies, Recruiting, The Workplace. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Judy  |  January 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Perhaps unrelated to your post however I too am also praying the new year will bring change. Here’s why.

    I’m a recent civil engineering graduate, non- traditional student with construction experience and am seeking entry level construction management employment. My burning question to all who may have answers is this —

    Why are 99% of all the jobs posted for civil engineers in all facets seeking only:
    Intermediate – 5+ years of experience and a PE or
    Senior – 10+ years of experience and a PE.

    It would seem with such difficult economic times firms would be seeking out entry-level applicants for two main reasons.

    1. They will be paid less than those mentioned above.
    2. They are eager and willing to learn.

    Of course the downfall to hiring new graduates is they may not have a lot of experience and therefore will require training in order to get up to speed. However investing in employee training while the economy is still slow seems not only rational but also extremely beneficial in the long term. I believe this recession will turn around in the not too distant future and there will be a demand for enterprising new engineers within these firms.

    Surely these firms can see that eventually their long term senior employees will not want to be out there braving the elements and would prefer to remain poised in front of their monitors designing something new. Or for someone like me, who thoroughly enjoys working outdoors, high stress, the smell of dirt and the sound of heavy equipment, there will come a day when I will prefer to let the younger individuals handle the stress and day to day interactions while I field calls relating to the project from my truck or office.

    The prospects for entry level civil engineers with 0-3 years of experience are not only deplorable but exceedingly depressing.

    I am also curious as to why there is such a large demand for senior engineers when the economy is so slow – is it simply some kind of fishing expedition for these firms? A sort of senior level wish list that’s been on the back burner but has recently been pushed to the forefront in this “employers” market?

    Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated.

  • 2. Brandon Lee  |  January 6, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    After starting our Civil firm January 2009, it has been very slow with lots of large projects we have going on hold. But suddenly around Christmas time it looks like building is slowly starting to pick up again. I think the major factor in building is that construction loans are still 100% gone since June 2009.

    I know once banks starts lending again, there are a lot of good projects this time around just waiting to go full steam ahead. This industry needs to have more than just their fingers crossed for this to happen.


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