Status of the Canadian Consulting Engineering Industry
The Canadian Consulting Engineering industry is showing signs of overall economic health as member firms across the country have reported being very busy. In its June 2008 report on engineering servic...
The Canadian Consulting Engineering industry is showing signs of overall economic health as member firms across the country have reported being very busy. In its June 2008 report on engineering services, Statistics Canada indicated that the industry has grown to represent $15.4 billion in revenues (2006), an 11.4% increase from the previous year. Operating revenue growth rates in Western Canada outpaced those of central provinces, with British Columbia showing a 21% increase, Alberta with 19%, Ontario with 6% and Quebec with 7%. The industry employs over 90,000 Canadians.
Over a 10-year period from 1998 to 2008 ACEC member firms reported an increase of 55% in staff numbers, all while decreasing the number of firms by 17%.
The Canadian CE industry has also fared well in exporting its talent base; Canada is the fourth largest exporter of engineering services behind the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
ACEC’s Benchmarking and Business Survey 2008 confirmed this positive momentum and highlighted an industry that is improving its operating profits, staff growth rates and is forecasting a strong industry for the coming year.
This is all good news for the Canadian CE industry, but ACEC remains focused on continuously improving the business environment for its members. To this end, the ACEC Board has taken a strategic approach based on the leadership of its previous President, Mr. Claude Paul Boivin, to concentrate on five priorities: image, remuneration, business practices, lobbying and trends. Based on these main principles, the ACEC Board has identified three areas of focus on which to concentrate the organization’s efforts. For 2008, the three areas of focus are (1) Procurement of engineers based on the InfraGuide Best Practice, (2) Strategic Role of Engineers, and (3) Human Resources Sustainability.
The InfraGuide Best Practice for Selecting a Professional Consultant has become a top priority for ACEC because it advocates for procurement through the use of Qualifications-Based Selection. To support this initiative, ACEC has developed various tools to promote this valuable procurement approach to clients, government and also within our own industry. ACEC has also expanded its public affairs programs greatly to encompass high-profile government relations activities, as well as various image-building publications that have increased ACEC’s visibility on the national scene. Efforts include a significant three-year investment in a national advertising campaign to promote the Best Practice for Selecting a Professional Consultant.
On the business practices front, the association has become the focal point for identifying industry trends through surveys, including client surveys, remunerations surveys and business benchmarking surveys, and it conducts regular business management training programs for industry leaders.
For the recruitment of engineers into the consulting industry, ACEC has undertaken a major initiative to produce a high energy video showcasing the appeal of working in the CE industry. This video will feature star projects completed by ACEC member firms and will target Canadian university students with the hope of attracting the best and brightest to join the consulting engineering field.