Posts filed under ‘Poll Results’

Civil Engineers: Laid Off? Now What?


Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc
Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com
View Matt’s profile & connect with him on LinkedIn

Each month at Precision Executive Search we reach hundreds of civil engineering professionals across the country in our recruiting efforts.   Beyond the normal recruiting conversations that are had I try to probe the minds of my candidates about different things they are seeing.     During the month of October we wanted to find out what all those civil engineers who have been laid off are up to.  Beyond just looking for a new job, have they left the industry altogether? Or have they maybe started their own consulting business?  Based upon the information we found out through our conversations, and based upon a poll that we posted on LinkedIn asking these very questions, here is what we came to find :

•About 63% are pursuing a new job

•About 12% have left the industry and are trying something different

•About 25% have started consulting on their own

It is the 25% that I would like to discuss.

While taking a bike ride on a crisp and colorful autumn morning with our children along the Schuylkill River Trail I was talking to a friend of mine who has been in technology sales with AT&T for over 15 years;  he mentioned that he would love to try something new. His job has become stagnant, the company has really changed, there is a lot of red tape, and he is beginning to yearn for something new; the thought of trying something new is a hard pill to swallow though since he has been at it for so long now. What he said was this,

I almost wish I would get laid off so my hand would be forced to do something different.

 Regarding those 20% I mentioned above who are have started their own consulting practices- these folks may be the future leaders of the industry; they may be the ones that start hiring people and getting people back to work; and they may have just started a business that will one day break into the ENR top 100. That’s the silver lining I see in all of this…for those folks that started their own consulting practices, their hands may have been forced, and if they take that opportunity to go “all in,” that pink slip they were handed may turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to them!  And if you think it can’t happen, check out these firms:

Aging & Growing Gracefully:

Greeley & Hansen – started with 2 partners in 1914 and now have over 300 employees in 16 offices across the United States

Louis Berger Group – started in 1953 by Dr. Louis “Doc” Berger with a sole office in Harrisburg, PA, now an international consulting firm with thousands of employees

Just Getting Started:

Pacheco Koch Consulting Engineers – started in 1990 with 2 partners in Dallas, TX has since blossomed to dozens of employees in 3 offices throughout the state of TX

Borton Lawson – opened their doors in 1988 and now have 160+ employees in multiple offices throughout Pennsylvania

These firms were all conceived for different reasons and motivations.  If your reason is because you were laid off, then so be it; NOW IT IS TIME TO TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS!   I wish great success to all the new entrepreneurs our there who have decided to hang their own shingle, and maybe one day I will be blogging about how YOUR firm has thrived and how that may inspire others to follow in your footsteps!

civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

November 17, 2011 at 9:36 am 4 comments

Questions Of The Month – Final Tallies Revealed

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com

Each month at CivilEngineeringCentral.com we have a Question of the Month.  This question is posted on our home page and is included in each issue of  “The LinkedIngineer” as well as our monthly e-newsletter which is sent out to nearly 10,000 members of the civil engineering community (If you would like to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter please click HERE…sorry, couldn’t pass up that free plug).   It’s been a while since we have posted the results, so in light of that (plus the fact that I have struggled to come up with anything else),  check out the results below.   If you see any surprising results in there or feel the urge to comment about any of the topics please feel free to do so.

MAY 2009

DID YOU SEE AN INCREASE IN PROJECTS IN YOUR COMPANY DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2009?

83.1%     No
16.9%     Yes

Just yesterday I was speaking with  a colleague of mine who commented on a report he had just watched on MSNBC. They were discussing the question “where did all the stimulus go?”   Most of it of course is going to construction; all those projects that we have come to love and know as…shovel ready. What seemed like a lot of money initially, when spread out over the entire United States, seems to be spread pretty thin.

APRIL 2009

HAS YOUR FIRM CUT IT’S BENEFITS PACKAGE AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE?

67.6%     Yes
32.4%     No

It’s expensive out there folks.  Our health insurance has gone up 50% over the past four or five years…everyone is feeling the pinch here.

MARCH 2009

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT SEARCHING FOR A JOB?

42.9%     Networking
25.0%     Not Knowing Where To Start
17.9%     Updating My Resume
14.3%     Nailing The Interview

The way I see it, assuming you are a talented engineer, if you are able to effectively network throughout the course of your career, that, in-and-of-itself, takes care of the the remaining three obstacles.  You see, if you are a great networker, you easily know where to start, and because you have networked so well and know so many people very well, there is no need to update your resume because they have seen you in action and your stellar reputation precedes you.  Your noticeable performance within your industry over the course of your career has coincidentally been an ongoing interview.  All that being said, a hand shake over a cocktail, beer, sparkling water or other beverage of your choice should be all that is needed to nail down your next job.  A little tongue in cheek maybe, but there is some validity to my theory.

FEBRUARY 2009

HOW OFTEN DO YOU VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

50.0%     8 or more times per year
23.1%      Not at all
15.4%     1-3 times per year
11.5%     4-7 times per year

One half of our respondents give back to the community 8 or more time per year…that is AWESOME!

JANUARY 2009

HAVE YOU EVER MISLED OR EMBELLISHED EXPERIENCES ON YOUR RESUME?

77.8%     No
22.2%     Yes

One should always be truthful on their resume, that goes without saying.  But sometimes resumes can be misleading as different titles mean different things to different companies and different people.

DECEMBER 2008

WHAT CONCEPT WILL MAKE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON SOLVING OUR ENERGY CRISIS?

40.0%     Nuclear Energy
23.3%     Wind Energy
20.0%     Solar Energy
13.3%     Bio-Fuels
3.3%       U.S. Oil Digging
0.0%      Coal

I think our economy will need to stabilize and re-establish itself for a while before we begin to see any of these technologies really begin to flourish.

NOVEMBER 2008

DOES YOUR MANAGER ALLOW FOR YOU TO WORK A  4/40 OR 9/80 WORK WEEK?

65.5%     No
34.5%     Yes

I think the civil engineering industry,  prior to “The Great Recession,”  had actually come accustomed to the 6/60 work week – that is Monday-Saturday/60 hours week!

OCTOBER 2008

WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WILL YOU VOTE FOR ON NOVEMBER 4th?

49.4%     Barack O’Bama
42.9%     John McCain
6.0%       Undecided
1.2%        Other
0.6%       Ralph Nader

Not bad, not bad.  The final results in total votes for the Presidential election in November was Obama 53% / McCain 46%. Our participants were nearly dead on here…sorry I can’t say the same for the Question of the Month which we ran in August 2008; see below!

SEPTEMBER 2008

WITH HIGH GAS PRICES, HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR COMMUTING HABITS BY OPTING FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?

73.5%     No
26.5%     Yes

This poll was posted at the time when gas prices were averaging $3.74/gallon.  We have come a long way over the years in mass transit, but you know what?  People love their cars and it would take a lot more  than higher gas prices for them to drop their keys and take to mass transit.

AUGUST 2008

WHEN DO YOU BELIEVE THE LAND DEVELOPMENT MARKET WILL BEGIN TO PICK UP?

30.6%     2nd Quarter of 2009
26.5%     2010 or Beyond
14.3%     3rd Quarter 2009
12.2%     4th Quarter 2008
10.2%     4th Quarter 2009
6.1%        1st Quarter 2009

As of today, just about 50% of our survey responders are wrong and there are another 26.5% who will likely end up on the wrong side of the fence as well by the end of this year.  Seems to be an ol’ case of “if I only knew then what I know now.”

I would like to thank you all for answering our Questions of the Month and look forward to your continued participation.

Got Comments? Got Questions? Got Insight? Got Speculation?  Got Inside Information?  Let us know, we would love to hear from you on any of the subjects of our recent polls.


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civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion

June 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm 1 comment

The Results Are In…

By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC
CivilEngineeringCentral.com

From time to time we get emails from those who visit our site asking what the final results are of our Questions of the Month, so without further hesitation, here is how YOU, our loyal audience, have responded:

DECEMBER 2007 QUESTION (That’s right, December of last year, this is the story of my life, 7 months ago and I am finally getting around to putting up the results – my wife can verify this, just ask her how high the pile of clean laundry is on my rocking chair just waiting to be put away; I will get around to it, eventually):

Through what source did you find your current employer?

OTHER*                                                                                             24.4%
REFERRAL                                                                                       22.2%
DIRECT CALL FROM A CORPORATE RECRUITER                17.8%
EXECUTIVE SEARCH FIRM/AGENCY                                         15.6%
JOB BOARD                                                                                      15.6%
NEWSPAPER/PERIODICAL/TRADE JOURNAL                          4.4%

*Anyone care to share what this 24.4% might be?  A billboard, a little birdie?

JANUARY 2008 QUESTION:

Are you a member of any of the following networks:  Linkedin, Jigsaw, Ning, ERE, Facebook or MySpace?

Yes             89.7%
No              10.3%

And of course there is FastPitch, Plaxo, Twitter, Meetup, Orkut.  There is even a social network for all of then knitters & crocheters from around the world called Ravelry.com – no joke, check it out.

FEBRUARY 2008 QUESTION:

Have you ever accepted a counter-offer?

Yes             57.6%
No              42.4%

As a Search Consultant, I am pretty surprised at that rate.  This has been a topic of discussion on our Forum and I most recently saw a question discussing this very issue on Linkedin.  All the research and all the evidence makes a compelling argument to NEVER accept a counter-offer.  I guess all those folks who responded “yes” are not reading our Forum or learning about this topic on Linkedin…they must be getting mis-information on Ravelry.com !

MARCH 2008 QUESTION:

What is your opinion on Public Private Partnerships (P3) as it relates to the US infrastructure?

For P3’s           40%
Against P3’s    40%
Undecided       20%

There is a very informative paper on the P3 Topic.  It was written in 2006 by Benjamin Perez of PB Consult along with James March of the Federal Highway Administration. The paper is titled:  Public Private Partnerships and the Development of Transport Infrastructure:  Trends on Both Sides of the Atlantic (Click on the title to see the paper).

APRIL 2008 QUESTION:

Which do you consider to be the greater civil engineering achievement?

The Panama Canal               54.4%
The Channel Tunnel              28.1%
The Golden Gate Bridge       17.5%
The Empire State Building    0.0%

Personally speaking, my biggest civil engineering achievement was the sandbox I built for my kids in the back yard – it’s a square shaped frame made out of equal length railroad ties…with sand dumped inside.  I’m serious.  BIG achievement for me.

MAY 2008 QUESTION:

Has your organization purchased AND fully integrated a 3-D cad program?

Yes     65%
No      35%

Do these 3-D programs come with the cardboard 3-D glasses, or are they sold
separately?

We will likely post the results every six months.  Please make sure you visit our site each month and cast your vote.  Feel free to reply to this blog submission with any of your comments in regards to the responses above.

FYI, don’t forget to vote for this month’s QUESTION OF THE MONTH IS:

When do you believe the land development market will pick up?

June 12, 2008 at 3:05 am Leave a comment


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