**** JOB SURVEY RESULTS **** (For those hired since 2009 in the USA)

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums RESEARCH **** JOB SURVEY RESULTS **** (For those hired since 2009 in the USA)

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    Jay Smith

     Original Post:

    In an effort to better understand the hiring climate in the United States since 2009, I’ve put together a secure, 10-question survey at the link that follows.  In hope of attracting a large number of participants, I’ve made the survey completely anonymous and secure.  I will post the results of the survey on this thread as soon as the 100 respondent limit is reached (or 60 days, whichever comes first).


    If you would like me to add any options to the existing questions, please let me know.


    Thanks in advance to all who participate:

    Please click here to take the survey


    (Please note:  By using this link, you are not asked for any personal identification such as email address, name, etc.  This survey is completely anonymous.)


    *** SURVEY RESULTS: ***




    8. Which State did you find employment in?


    CA  4

    MD  4

    MN  3

    NC  3

    TX  3

    IL  2

    OH  2

    FL  2

    MI  2

    NY  1

    NM  1

    SC  1

    VA  1

    PA  1

    IN  1

    ND  1

    HI  1

    AK 1

    CO 1

    CT 1

    KY 1



    10. If there was anything else you felt was significant in obtaining employment during this time frame, you may share your experiences here:


    *I can write and used my freelance journalism skills to get hired, they use me more for proposal writing than landscape design though and it is for far less pay than what I was making before the recession.


    *I applied 2 years prior for the same position and at the time it was eliminated due to the economy. I continued to keep in touch with the company and when things turned around, I was asked to come in for another interview, had improved my portfolio and got hired.


    *The one situation was “virtual” online assistance to a nonprofit (renderings); the other coming this Fall is paid part time teaching in an adult enrichment program at a local community college – not enough to really rate financially if I was in mid career but great for me as a supplement to retirement.


    *Willingness to move. Good Portfolio examples.


    *As stated by my employer; beside my skill set with rendering software and GIS, one of the main reasons I was hired was my background in land surveying and the technical knowledge associated with that field.


    *Pure luck. 1st assignment was 3 months (Sept-Dec 09), 2nd assignments was 7 months (Feb-Jun 10). Two interviews since then but full time work is not happening for me.


    *Some past experience in marketing made me more interesting to the firm.


    *I was fortunate to have connected dots between a project, a firm, and a former co-worker at that firm. However, the project went away so they had to lay me off. On your experience question, I am not clear whether you had a description I fit. I have 27 years of experience, but no post graduate degree.


    *I lived 1/4 of a mile away. I was out of work for well over a year, and saw an advertisement on ASLA for a local firm. I put on a shirt and tie, printed my resume and cover letter and walked over to the firm, asked to see someone of consequence and handed them my resume. They asked me to come back two days later for an interview. I was the first to interview…


    *I was laid off from a small (16 designers) LA firm in Jan 2009. After looking for many months with no luck, I was hired as a grounds person at a state school in Sept. 09. I responded to an advertisement for the position. I thought it would be good to get my hands in the dirt again and I planned to pursue my masters in Env. Sci. while working. About 3 months in, after making some connections in the planning (or lack there of) dept., I had talked my way into doing some much needed design work -there being no landscape architect, no planner, no vision, no master plan – just contractors. The Director of Planning and VP set me up with CAD, photoshop and everything I needed. For over a year I’ve been spending 80% of my time working on some significant projects for the 6 community college campuses. I guess I’m luckier than some that I’m working in my field, but I feel I am being greatly taken advantage of: I have not been given the official position therefore I am still making 30 thousand a year, they refuse to change my job description and I still give 20% of my day to the grounds dept. Meanwhile they are funding the projects – over 600 thousand dollars. I love the projects, I love being my own boss and I’d like to stay and see the campuses evolve. They say the position in the works, but I’m losing hope. I’ve been to HR- and all I can do is file a grievance which sounds horrible because I don’t want to cause a big stink with the people who I might be depending on hiring me. Good idea to do the survey. Look forward to seeing the results.


    *My first job was with a landscape contractor whom I met while passing out my resume at a Home & Garden Show prior to graduation. I left that company after 7 months when I sent out my resume & portfolio to a few of the landscape architecture firms in town. (I had gone on an office visit to each of them prior to graduation…so they recognized my name.) Luckily, I landed a job at one of those LA firm within two months.


    *Personable & know the area


    *Solid portfolio and quick responsiveness to job postings.


    *I do not have any exceptional skills in the areas described in question 9, but I have solid skills/abilities in all of them with the exception of Web Design.


    *The primary reason I was brought on was to help with GIS work at a military base, which would have required a 1.5-hour commute. Fortunately, I ended up not having to do that. The firm that hired me is primarily a civil engineerin firm with a lot of government/military work so it’s pretty steady…relatively speaking.


    *Working as a consultant part time.


    *Was able to provide a high level of IT support to the firm.



    Thanks again to all who took the time to participate.  While I was hoping for a higher vote count, 37 is still a good number, especially during these times.  In order to uphold the integrity of the survey, the survey excluded any multiple faux results from the same ip address. 


    I just thought I’d throw out a few observations of my own regarding some things I found a bit surprising:


    – I would have thought ‘new grads/those with 2 years or less’ would have dominated during this 

      time considering firms are probably looking for cheaper labor.

    – There were more full time positions filled.  I thought we’d see more part time or internship hirings.

    – 43% were hired through advertisements.  Considering that ad-counts are way down, this was a shocker.  (On the flip side, this survey further confirms the importance of networking).

    – Only 10 RLA’s of 37 were hired. 

    – The survey represented 21 states.  I really thought we would see 1 or 2 states or geographic areas come in stronger, but not so. 


    I’d like to hear others take on the survey.  I’m not sure if we can draw any solid conclusions from 37 people or not, but I thought it was interesting.


     I’ll update the results in another month or two if we continue to get participants.





    Cara McConnell

    What do you mean by “found employment” since 2009? If I was employed in 2008, never laid-off and currently with the same company, then the survey isn’t for me? And what is the purpose of this survey? Just wondering.

    By the way, for question #4, you should add an option for Recruitment Agency. A friend of mine found employment through Aerotek.

    Jay Smith

    Found employment = sought out a job and hired January 2009 or later.  If you managed to hold onto a job obtained prior to 2009, then this survey would not pertain to you.  The purpose is to help anyone looking for employment in our field develop a clearer picture of companies hiring habits during the worst years of the recession/recovery.  In other words…the who, how, where, etc.  I created the survey to see if any obvious trends could be derived from a large pool of new hires.


    Good idea on the recruitment agency option, I’ll add it. 

    Jay Smith

    Thanks to the 10 participants so far, keep ’em coming everyone.  At this rate I’ll be able to post the results next week.

    Jay Smith

    17 and counting….

    Joshua Elam

    Not sure if 100 people were hired as LA’s since 2009.  Good luck, post results regardless, please

    Jay Smith

    You could be right.  Up to 25 after 6 days, so we’ll see.  I’d be happy with 50.

    Jay Smith

    Just want to encourage anyone else who hasn’t participated in this survey to do so soon.  I will probably be posting the results sooner than originally planned. 

    Leslie B Wagle

    Shouldn’t there also be one for people who have been looking and not feeling a satisfactory resolution since 2009….ie. went into a side field, only found part time, etc. I know there wouldn’t be anything scientific about either one, but it might be interesting to see if in a given period of time, those reached by this site appeared in quicker/larger numbers for one survey question than for the other. I guess that would risk us getting kinda sad if it tipped towards the second question, though. So far in all the various Land8 discussions it’s really hard to tell where we stand overall…other than stressed in comparison with the boom times.

    (Have to admit didn’t take the current survey and maybe you are going to sift this out anyway).

    Jay Smith

    Actually it does account for full time, part time, contract, volunteer…as well as closely related fields such as Landscape Contractor/Nursery work.   Ideally, I would have broken it down further and added such questions as “were you able to keep that job?”, and also had questions about portfolio submittal methods.  Unfortunately there is a ten question limit so I had to pick and choose.   The purpose of the survey really was to try to uncover any hiring trends during one of the most competitve job markets in history….to determine if there are any obvious factors in one person being hired over 100 others for the same job.  We’ll just have to see if this survey reveals anything or not.   The more people that take a minute to participate, the better conclusions we can draw.

    Jay Smith

    Last call.  Thanks to the 36 who participated so far.

    Jay Smith

    The survey says!…..

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