Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, has unveiled the 42nd annual Deltek Clarity industry study results for A&E firms. The results, based on a survey of more than 480 architecture and engineering firms in the United States and Canada, identify the key challenges impacting the industry, as well as highlighting bright spots and forecasting future trends.
Produced in collaboration with ACEC, ACEC Canada, AIA and SMPS, the Clarity study serves as a roadmap for firms to understand the state of the A&E marketplace and provides detailed insight and analysis into technology trends, financial statements, business development, project management and human capital management.
The 42nd annual report revealed that many businesses were able to meet the challenges raised by the pandemic by focusing on the fundamentals, staying close to clients and managing costs to sustain profitability. In 2020, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that more than eight in 10 firms had applied for federal PPE loans and the Architectural Billings Index experienced its largest single-month decline in 25 years. A&E firms responded to the pandemic by intensifying their focus on servicing existing clients and contracts. While some challenges linger, the outlook for 2021 is positive.
Megan Miller, Director of Product Marketing at Deltek has been involved with the Clarity study for seven years. Commenting on this year’s findings, Miller said, “Despite the challenges firms faced in 2020 and the necessary move to control costs and rethink project delivery, the outlook for the AEC industry is looking positive as firms enter 2021 relatively well-positioned. We heard from respondents that changes in workplace policy and an increased use of technology will continue to open up new possibilities in coming years. In addition, A&E firms have continued migrating more solutions to the cloud and plan to step up that effort to modernize operations. The major themes we saw in this year’s report are business automation, up-leveling project management and employee retention with strong financial practices and technology at the foundation.”
Key findings from the report include:
- Lessons from the pandemic will continue to be adapted and applied
- Firms plan to resume digitization of business operations
- Recruiting will be increasingly competitive with hybrid workplaces expected to become a mainstay
- Developing project management professionals and equipping them with the next generation of tools is key to success
- Investment in technologies that boost operational efficiency – whether staff is in the office, on a job site, or in the built environment – is crucial to maintaining competitiveness and attracting top talent
The full results of the 42nd annual Deltek Clarity industry study for A&E firms is now available here.