How Long Does it Take to Fill an Open Position in the AEC Industry?

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By Tyler Thompson

Zweig Group compiled data between late 2019 and early 2021 from an online survey for its recently released 2020-2021 Recruitment & Retention Report of AEC Firms. One of the main topics of the report addresses recruitment metrics, specifically how long the hiring process takes in the industry.

Despite the state of the economy, AEC firms are still looking to hire. Sixty-two percent of firms reported to have open positions that they would like to fill with qualified candidates. Among those firms, the number of open positions can be between three and nine percent of the firm’s staff size. (For example, a firm of one hundred full-time employees usually has between three and nine open positions.)

So, how long does it typically take to hire a qualified candidate between the job listing and the signed job offer?

Most firms (fifty-six percent) need between thirty and sixty days to hire. According to each firm’s listed recruitment and retention metrics, the median time it takes to hire a candidate is forty-three days. This is higher than the U.S. average of 36 days according to SHRM’s Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, which is common for a technical sector like the AEC industry.

Looking at the interquartile range, firms at the 25th percentile of the dataset took thirty-five days to fill a job while firms at the 75th percentile coincidentally took seventy-five days to fill a role.

What about the open positions within the industry that require a higher level of education or experience and involve more screening and background work?

According to the report, eighty-nine percent of firms take longer than three months to hire the difficult-to-fill positions within their company. Drilling down further, fifty-eight percent of firms said that the most difficult positions take at least five months to fill. Firms have to be picky when searching for candidates to fill their most crucial positions and it shows in the data.

Zweig Group is constantly gathering data on every area that impacts the management of AEC firms. Participate in any survey and receive a customized report or sizable discount (fifty percent or more) on any Zweig Group research publication.  Click here to see topics open for participation.


Tyler Thompson is the Research Manager at Zweig Group. He can be reached at research@zweiggroup.com.

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