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Mid Year Salary Update

Mid Year Salary Update

By Tyler Thompson

Zweig Group recently released the all-new 2020 Mid-Year Salary Report of AEC Firms. This publication was created to provide AEC firms an opportunity to benchmark base salaries across their technical and administrative staff during an unprecedented time.

Typically, Zweig Group has published regional salary reports to represent the West, Central, and East portions of the country separately. While those reports will continue, the 2020 Mid-Year Salary Report of AEC Firms will act as an all-inclusive benchmarking publication representing all regions of the U.S. in one report.

On the technical side, a wide array of roles is analyzed including engineers, architects, construction managers, surveyors, planners, and landscape architects. Also included are the designers and drafters in each department as well as CADD and BIM roles. Among these roles, about two-thirds of them saw increases in median base salaries that were higher than 2019 and 2020. This is a good sign that AEC firms are still following a pay increase schedule, but it will also be something to monitor as we head into 2021.

Charts that show year ranges for typical levels within engineering and architecture roles were also provided to show when promotions to new levels among staff should start happening. This gives a natural career progression, especially at the earlier levels, that allows firms to start grooming staff and providing them with proper opportunities and education to advance their careers.

For example, in an engineering department, the experience for a Project Engineer typically ranged between five and fourteen years. For a Project Manager, the year range of experience jumps to a range between eleven and twenty-five years. From this, firms can reasonably infer that Project Engineers approaching ten years of experience should be considered for a management role.

Among nontechnical departments assessed in this publication are finance/accounting, HR, IT, marketing, and C-suite. Coincidentally, just as with the technical roles, two-thirds of these nontechnical roles saw increases in base salary by median values relative to 2019 and 2020.

The 2020 Mid-Year Salary Report of AEC Firms is a great resource for firms looking to stay on track with their compensation plans in these uncertain times. It is more important now than ever to benchmark those base salaries and maintain employee satisfaction while managing the overall finances of the firm.

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