Cheers to the end of a rocky year
This year has been tough—and terrific—on many levels.
This year has been tough—and terrific—on many levels. Some general issues didn’t change much: unemployment levels, political unrest in many parts of the world, and partisan fighting in the U.S. government.
In the building world, regulatory initiatives—particularly new and evolving federal air quality regulations and standards—have had a negative impact, creating a level of uncertainty for engineers. Energy legislation is ever-changing and legislative amendments impact how engineers design and build engineered systems.
Also, the competition for talent continues to be a challenge in the industry. Firms are looking for experienced engineers with specialized skills, but the work environment continues to change, and staffing continues to be an issue.
On the flipside, many things changed for the better on the engineering front. Engineers and building owners saw an uptick in government resources allocated toward energy efficiency (and an overall rise in demand for building efficiency).
Engineering firms are obtaining more revenue from retrofits and renovations, and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO). New construction also is doing well. According to 2011 MEP Giants data, the MEP Giants firms cited new construction and retrofit/renovation as a larger source of revenue. On top of that, new construction accounted for nearly 80% of commissioning work done (see August and October 2011 issues, respectively, for full data).
Also in 2011, international engineering climbed. Firm leaders focused on the fact that we live in a global economy, and sought out new opportunities overseas. Though the commercial building market is also down in parts of Europe, it’s doing well in the Middle East, and positively soaring in places like China and Brazil.
Companies are holding onto cash, giving them the ability to expand their engineering reach through acquisitions or new partnerships, or pre-pay expenses for the next year. According to Mick Morrissey’s report in our August issue, global merger and acquisition activity has been high throughout 2011. From his perspective, this isn’t all bad, as larger firms have more and deeper resources and more visibility with lawmakers.
So where does this leave us for 2012? The educated guess: In a better place than in 2011, though we’ll still see unrest in many areas. And as new codes become the standard in 2012, engineers will have more to keep up with. Plus, an election year will cause gyrations in the economic market and in federal legislative decisions.
The real answer: Only time will tell. Good luck, and Happy New Year.
Case Study Database
Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.
These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.
Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.
Annual Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.