Labor Issues Mark Top Project Management Challenge for Architecture and Engineering Firms

Compiled by Norah Dick
April 29, 2017

Source: 37th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering Industry Study from Deltek.

Architecture and engineering firms face many of the same labor challenges that have plagued the glass and glazing industry in recent years. According to the 37th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering Industry Study from Deltek, talent acquisition and management was identified as a significant issue for the architectural and engineering industries. These labor issues play a role in project management success for architecture and engineering firms, which in turn can affect the glass and glazing companies involved on any given project.

Deltek’s survey of architecture and engineering firms reveals a workforce in transition, as an older, experienced generation retires and a new generation arrives with different workplace expectations. Many architecture and engineering companies are struggling to recruit and retain top talent. As the industry deals with this workforce transition, project management processes will require careful consideration.

According to the survey, 70 percent of projects come in on or under budget, down five percent from last year, pointing to a need for further project management development. The Deltek survey identified three main challenges for architecture and engineering project management. Competing priorities in project management, design and business led at 63 percent, with 40 percent of respondents choosing it as their number one challenge. Inexperienced project managers ranked second at 52 percent, followed by poorly executed project management procedures at 43 percent.

While collaboration and communication has improved since the last survey, responses indicate that schedule variability is a definite area for growth and process development, and is an issue that can affect on-site collaboration with contract glaziers. According to the study, the industry survey “reveals a need for more financially savvy project managers and the establishment of successful [project management] processes that can be replicated across teams and across offices.”

As the architecture and engineering industry works through this workforce transition, talent management is essential, researchers argue. According to the report, “to be competitive in the war for talent, companies should approach talent like they approach projects—with metrics, monitoring, streamlined processes and modern technologies that enable them to optimize the pursuit and retention of top workers.”