What is your forecast for the Landscape Architecture job market 2011 and beyond?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION What is your forecast for the Landscape Architecture job market 2011 and beyond?

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    Jay Smith

    I’d like to hear some unbiased arguments for the job outlook of our professon for 2011 and beyond (particularly in the United States).   Please note this is not intended to be one of those encouragement threads where individuals list several reasons to be positive about the job market and stay the course.  Rather, I’m looking for brutally honest assessments of the current and future job market based on sound information and facts, more so than gut feelings.  Positve or Negative,  it doesn’t matter, I just want your honest opinion.


    Please include in your assessment the basis for your argument.


    Thank you 

    Thomas J. Johnson
    Jim Del Carpio


    I just read NY Times predict the economy is going to grow in the first quarter to 3.9% an uptick from 2.8% predicted earlier. Also, for the past 5 straight months this past year the economic indicators are positive. That’s the reason for the increase in economic growth(Dah). I’ve been going out and talking to individual business owners(Landscape Industry) and Principals(LA’s) and they feel confident in the first quarter of the year hiring will increase in their respective job sectors, which is real news. Best advice is to go out and pound the pavement and revisit with those same job leads and companies, and most importantly have face to face conversations with individuals that matter(decision makers). Hiring is greater when you have actual face to face conversations. Don’t get caught up with Census data and/or the employment forecast by national outlets.

    Jay Smith

    Unbiased? Wow, that is going to be a tall order there. Any article you read is going to have bias. Nobody has a crystal ball either unfortunately, so we are all just going to have to find out at the same time, whenever that is.


    Chad, I think what you said really goes without saying.  The point was to set the tone for this thread, to encourage people to be as honest as possible with their opinion.   With these types of threads, often times people have a tendency to be overly optimistic because they feel the person asking such a question is looking for encouragement or job hunting advice.  I am not, I’m just looking for honest opinions about growth in our profession, hopefully from individuals such as business owners who may have a more accurate sense of where the job market is headed.


    Jim Del Carpio

    Look for ways to network with them. Located networking events and attend, find ways to make yourself useful by volunteering, etc… Also, if you hadn’t notice the world keeps turning, that means businesses are making money and are busy. Those numbers I posted are real numbers, business owners pay attention to economic indicators and their bottom line. That’s why when I talked to them, they tell me they’re going to hire soon. Get out of the internet mode, sending emails and the like. Look for ways to “pound the flesh” and get noticed. You’ll be in their minds when they do hire, as opposed to the hundreds of resumes they’re besieged with. Good Luck


    I’ve been corresponding with an old friend of mine who has been in real estate finance for many years and has a business degree from Wharton (UPENN).  He does development finance, not a mortgage broker.  I mentioned that Cramer of CNBC’s “Mad Money” was recommending home builder stocks as he thinks a turn around in housing will be in 2013, and he said he’s about right.  By then the population will have risen enough to have created pent-up demand and the excess inventory now out there will have been absorbed by the market.  Since we’re inextricably linked with housing, that is when the real growth is likely.  If you’re feeling regretful about your career choice, my friend told me he thinks he’s made less money in the past few years than when he was in his 20’s.  he’s in his 40’s now.  On to the good news: Cramer is also predicting employment growth in 2011.  That may or may not create work for some of us.  Now I know I’m going to get some flack for quoting someone who says that one of his roles is to entertain, and I know he was spectacularly wrong on Bear Stearns before their collapse, but he does look at a lot of indicators and people respect his advice.

    Jim Del Carpio


    I think too many of us(LA’s) are waiting by our computers waiting for an interview and the like, For many of us it’s going to be a long wait and perhaps a defining one in our careers. Especially, if were waiting for home construction to pick-up and it will, don’t know when though. In the meantime, Everyone else has to make do with little or no growth in construction sector. So, go out an look elsewhere. It’s not easy but they’re are opportunities.

    Jim Del Carpio

    Yes, they feel more confident now than before. They’re seeing a profit at the end of this year. Don’t take my word for it, go out and look around. do you see business closing, do you see more freight on the highways? Talk to business people, if you really want to find out, get involved(talk) with people who run small businesses.

    Jim Del Carpio


    It’s like that here in S. Florida too, the housing bubble was rampant here. Look, you really have to look, “outside the box” in your case. Use all the resources in your area and look beyond to find new leads. Ask yourself this questions, if thing’s don’t change what will most likely happend if I stay. I don’t have an answer, but I know I got to bust my ass to find anything worthwhile in these times.

    Nick Mitchell

    I’m an avid Fortune magazine reader, and from what I’ve read I believe the major corporations (like GE) have already seen a turn around. These companies are of course heavily supported by the government and can handle the stress of downward economy. As far as the Landscape Architecture industry is concerned it would depend on the market your in. If we are talking about a green infrastructure planning specialty firm, I believe they will be seeing a turn around quicker then a boutique design firm. Government tax deduction, funding and publicity is very popular in the ‘green’ industry as we all know. Any firms with long standing relationships in those areas will be at the forefront of what Landscape Architecture will be tomorrow and the future, sustainable practices. There I said it, “sustainable” its hard to write anything progressive of our industry without using that buzz word. Back on track, now if the firm is within or marketing towards a growing urban or sprawling community, the firm will also of course see quicker returns. But doesn’t this all boil down to accounting and money management? I understand if there is no business then no one can survive.


    If you work for a firm that is

    A: Infrastructure oriented with strong government relations

    B: Within a sprawling or growing urban community/city

    C: Have a good business plan (and accountant), with a moderate to low risk portfolio

    The forecast is sunny with a highs in the mid 70’s

    chance of precipitation 20%


    If you are on a complete other tangent then that,

    The forecast may be cloudy with the chance of a thunderstorm in the evening


    I’m just a student giving my two cents, so please go easy on me if you have to.


    mark foster

    From a recent ASLA survey (as per “landscape arhcitect and specifier news”)–ok, so it’s a free industry rag…

    third quarter comparisons 09 vs 10:  billable hours:  same or better                     – approx 70%

         inquires for new work: same or better      + approx 68%

    This is good news…..

    Heather Smith

    I have no arguments…just that I hope the positive people are right. We live in an economy driven by two universities whose budgets are getting whacked to hell. It makes us nervous and seems to be getting worse. I imagine recovery will depend on where you live.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    The stock market and unemployment statistics are not the numbers to watch to understand how landscape architecture is going to fair. Real estate sales, building permits, and growth in real estate equity are the only numbers that directly matter for the overall health of landscape architecture.


    Outlook for 2011 is not positive.

    Jim Del Carpio

    Add, one additional category for firms with sunny forecast, Firms that specialize in International Practice, and that list is growing.

    Jim Del Carpio

    Don’t forget Public Works, they’re still a lot of un-spent money from TARP and other Public Funding available. Another reason for a better outlook in 2011 is the FED Reserve is pumping the Economy and holding down interest rates down, in order for Banks and other Financial Institutions to loan money to businesses. With the new tax bill signed, Banks will be confident to loan to Developers, Etc… Sunnier outlook

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