2016 Engineering and Construction Industry Trends

Construction and engineering job trends

We work to stay atop the latest news and trends of the industries we write for.  This article looks at the trends shaping the construction and engineering industries in 2016.

Original article click here.

It’s easy to pinpoint why the engineering and construction (E&C) sector is in the doldrums. Demand has fallen significantly as the sudden collapse of oil prices in 2015 led virtually every energy company to slow down, postpone, or outright cancel major projects all over the world. Commodity prices have also tumbled, and the mining industry has reduced its capital spending considerably.


The deterioration of energy and commodities markets is in large part a consequence of the skidding economy in China, which had been a major driver of global economic activity and infrastructure projects over the past decade. Anemic and inconsistent growth in developed markets has been unable to make up for the Chinese shortfall and similar weaknesses in other emerging countries. Continuing global economic instability will almost certainly drive E&C sector revenues down in 2016 compared to the year before, stalling the recovery that had followed the previous collapse in spending in the sector during the 2008-09 financial crisis.


That’s not to say that there are no bright spots for E&C companies. In the U.S., construction starts were up about 15 percent in 2015 and are forecast to advance another 6 percent this year. Also, infrastructure spending has been neglected since the 2008 recession and some analysts believe that worldwide annual infrastructure spending will grow to more than US$9 trillion per year by 2025, from a little over $4 trillion now — that is, if the political will can be mustered to support much-needed improvements.


In addition to the fundamental economic stresses on the E&C sector, established companies face intensifying competition from firms in low-cost nations, which weighs on E&C profit margins and has driven many in the industry to commoditize their services. To make up for it, some E&C companies have turned to a mergers and acquisition strategy centered on acquiring companies offering promising new sources of value in new geographies, new lines of business, or both.

The return of lean times shouldn’t come as a surprise to companies in the sector. For many years, E&C companies have struggled to disentangle themselves from predictable cycles of growth and decline and to find paths to profitable and consistent performance. Success has been fleeting, but in our view that’s because E&C firms have not adopted strategies that directly address the endemic problems their industry faces. Indeed, to break out of this vicious cycle, E&C companies must do two things:


Embrace engineering and construction technologies and specialization that lead the market, outpacing competitors.


The technology puzzle

In general, the engineering and construction industry has been slow to adopt new technologies; indeed, some firms are still using paper-based processes that can only be described as archaic. However, as a reaction to tight margins, a few E&C companies have recently automated and streamlined ways to carry out projects, not just in the design and engineering phase, but in construction as well.


Among the ways to cut costs, firms have offshored and consolidated design centers and adopted BIM (building information modeling) systems to automate much of the work of design and engineering and to supply critical information to workers on the construction site itself. Workers can also share information across project sites and send it back to the home office. These programs have reduced wasteful discrepancies and rework and boosted safety. Such technologies also let companies simulate the construction of just about anything before the project begins, instead of having to figure things out during the construction phase. Companies can perform detailed analyses of costs and scheduling as well.



In addition, advanced construction techniques that were pioneered in offshore oil and gas construction and in aerospace and defense, such as standardization and modularization, are becoming increasingly common in E&C. And the most cutting-edge firms are making use of newer breakthroughs such as 3D printing to produce components for modular construction and drones to inspect sites and monitor progress, quality, and safety.


Although these techniques have the potential to speed up the design and execution of projects and to lower costs considerably, they must be implemented as the centerpiece of a larger strategic platform. If they are not, the gains will dissipate within the ongoing commoditization of the services provided by E&C companies. Simply put, for E&C companies, the trick is not to delay the adoption of new technologies, but rather to figure out how to use these tools to differentiate themselves from the competition.


It’s a two-step process. First, the E&C firm must use collaborative technologies to develop a complete archive of every aspect of the engineering and construction process for current and past projects, gathering information from subcontractors and suppliers throughout the construction chain. The company can then leverage this data to provide its customers with a fuller and more transparent picture of the progress of their projects, and to do so nearly in real time. Second, having demonstrated to customers its ability to achieve better performance, better communication, and open interactions at lower cost throughout the project, the E&C firm will be positioned to outclass its rivals for future efforts.


With this strategic approach, E&C companies can win the volume jobs and use their skills with new technologies to profit from standardized projects, such as natural gas terminals, even as prices fall. And at the same time, they will be front-runners for more complex projects in difficult geographies, because their reputation for advanced capabilities will serve as a calling card.


Know your market

The E&C sector has been in the throes of consolidation for the past few years. Long a highly fragmented business, especially in design and engineering, the industry is finally shifting. Firms are now looking for greater value through acquisitions — they want to enter new geographic and vertical markets, to diversify or narrow their service offerings, to become more vertically integrated, and to boost their talent pool. The sheer number of deals remained high in 2015. There were few if any true megamergers; virtually all the deals involved big companies buying smaller companies to serve a particular strategic objective.


Sometimes expansion is the goal: AECOM’s 2014 acquisition of rival URS for $4 billion significantly enhanced AECOM’s global client base, primarily for power distribution and oil and gas projects. More typically, firms make acquisitions to target particular geographic markets. That can be risky — URS bought Flint Energy Services in 2012 to gain traction in western Canada’s oil sands region, a deal that might have struggled in the face of the recent collapse in oil prices. A further motivation involves buying another firm in order to gain entry into a particular services area, either to augment a company’s current services portfolio or to move up the value chain in search of less commoditized offerings.


As the talent shortage in the sector becomes more acute, E&C firms are also making acquisitions simply to build up their talent pools. This is particularly the case in construction, which is graying quickly and becoming more dependent on talent in specific locations. (Design and engineering, in contrast, have benefited more from globalization and technology, allowing firms to hire younger skilled people and put them to work anywhere in the world.)


Consolidation as a strategy, however, won’t succeed unless the engineering and construction firm understands its market well, to the point of being able to forecast growth areas that can be targeted better by an acquisition. Firms need to fully understand the markets they want to get into, the best way to get into them, and the particular differentiating capabilities those markets require for success. With that insight in mind, E&C companies can undertake acquisitions with a disciplined view of the skills they need and how they plan to use the acquisition to differentiate themselves from competitors. Acquisitions must be made carefully, with an eye toward how the combined companies are integrated and create unique value in the market. The deal must also complement the acquiring company’s current services portfolio, be accretive to earnings, and fit clearly into the growth strategy.


No matter what path E&C firms decide to take in order to escape the commoditization trap — whether through better technology, new geographies, augmented services portfolios, or fresh talent — success will be determined by those who can differentiate themselves from the crowded pack. Companies must ask themselves what their source of competitive differentiation is, what they do well, and what is no longer helping them. If they can’t answer these questions and then gain differentiation through new technologies, organic growth, or acquisitions, they won’t create value for their customers, or themselves. Differentiation means getting there first, and the coming years will soon sort out the winners in this race.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

The 25 Highest-Paying Jobs in America for 2016

Highest paying jobs

Who would have guessed? Doctors are still the highest paid profession. Congrats doctors. I would love to see teachers up here some day as well!
If you want to earn the big bucks, you may want to consider practicing medicine or law.

Original article click here.

According to a recent report by Glassdoor, doctors and lawyers are still the nation’s top-earning professionals.

To compile its list of the highest-paying jobs in America in 2016, the job search site analyzed anonymous salary reports from its users.

For a job to make the list, there had to be at least 75 reports on that job submitted over the past year. C-level jobs were excluded from the report.

Here are the 25 best-paying jobs, according to Glassdoor:

1. Physician

Median base salary: $180,000

Not only is this the top-paying job in the U.S., employment for medical doctors is projected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024, twice as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. Lawyer

Median base salary: $144,500
While pay can vary depending on what type of law you practice, the median salary is high enough to make lawyer the second best-paying job in America. What’s more, Glassdoor’s job listing page shows more than 9,000 openings for this job.

3. R&D manager

Median base salary: $142,120
Research and development managers have a variety of roles that depend on the employer, from improving product design and leading new partnerships to overseeing staff.

4. Software development manager

Median base salary: $132,000
Software development managers develop and oversee the systems behind computer programs. The outlook for this job is bright; it’s expected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.

5. Pharmacy manager

Median base salary: $130,000
This managerial position usually requires years of experience in addition to a doctoral degree, which all pharmacists are required to have.

6. Strategy manager

Median base salary: $130,000
Strategy managers often oversee a company’s plans to develop partnerships, drive growth and launch new profit-driving initiatives. A bachelor’s degree is required, and some employers also require a master’s, Glassdoor’s listings showed.

7. Software architect

Median base salary: $128,250
Software architects create computer programs and communicate technical plans to company leaders. A bachelor of science degree is usually required.

8. Integrated circuit designer engineer

Median base salary: $127,500
Integrated circuit designer engineers provide electrical design and development support and solve technical hardware problems. Most have a B.S. or Master of Science degree in electrical engineering.

9. IT Manager

Median base salary: $120,000
Information technology managers make sure that all of their company’s equipment, software and networks operate smoothly, and they execute the IT goals of the organization. IT managers usually have a bachelor’s degree in the field along with various technical skills.

10. Solutions architect

Median base salary: $120,000
Solutions architects lead or help in the design of products and projects, but are also heavily involved in the technical side of creating them. Education requirements vary, ranging from a bachelor’s degree in computer systems or information systems to a master’s in engineering or marketing.

11. Engagement manager

Median base salary: $120,000
Engagement managers are responsible for client relationships. The role requires skills in marketing and project management. Software or technical skills can be useful.

12. Applications development manager

Median base salary: $120,000

These managers oversee and improve internal systems and software. A bachelor’s degree and several years of experience in the field is required.

13. Pharmacist

Median base salary: $118,000
Pharmacists are well-paid but can have long hours and may have to work weekend shifts. They must have a doctoral degree to practice.
14. Systems architect

Median base salary: $116,920
These architects build and maintain a company’s databases, software and system coding. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, computer science or a related field is required.

15. Finance manager

Median base salary: $115,000
Finance managers “produce financial reports, direct investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization,” according to the BLS. They usually have five or more years of experience in finance, accounting or a related field, in addition to a bachelor’s degree.

16. Data scientist

Median base salary: $115,000
Computer and data research scientists solve complex problems in computing. Employment for this job is projected to grow 11 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average.

17. Risk manager

Median base salary: $115,000
Risk managers deal with insurance, liability and legal compliance. The job’s function and education requirements vary greatly, depending on the industry.

18. Creative director

Median base salary: $115,000
Creative directors execute new marketing initiatives for a company, leading branding and design. The job requirements vary, but a track record in leadership helps.

19. Actuary

Median base salary: $115,000
Actuaries analyze financial risk and uncertainty. Employment of actuaries is expected to grow a whopping 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, the BLS says.

20. Data architect

Median base salary: $113,000
Data architects create information and technology road maps for a company. The position typically requires technical skills and/or a B.S. in computer science or information systems.

21. Tax manager

Median base salary: $110,000
Tax managers prepare federal and state income tax returns for individuals and businesses. An undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting is required.

22. Product manager

Median base salary: $107,000
These managers are key to an organization’s product development team, helping to ensure new products are delivered on time. Glassdoor reports more than 7,000 open positions for this job.

23. Design manager

Median base salary: $106,500
Design managers are in charge of envisioning and executing a customer or client’s experience with a company. The duties vary widely across industries.

24. Analytics manager

Median base salary: $106,000
This job requires strengths in statistics and data analysis. Glassdoor reports thousands of job openings for this position.

25. Information systems manager

Median base salary: $106,000
This role, while similar to that of an information technology manager, is broader in terms of responsibilities. Information systems managers oversee information however it’s organized.

Bonus Tip!  It’s not always about the money.  Make sure you like what you do!  It’s been said that doing a job that you are good at is more rewarding than sacrificing happiness for money.  Often times, if you are really good at what you do it will lead to financial gains.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

2016 Resume Trends & Tips

Resume trends

An interesting study was published by Microsoft in May of this year about how our attention spans have changed over the past several years. In 2000 we had a 12-second attention span, and in 2013 a mere eight-second attention span. We now, as a whole, have a one-second-shorter attention span than a goldfish. Isn’t that interesting? Ok, shocking is probably more like it—and also not very comforting to know when you’re job searching and trying your hardest to get a hiring manager/employer/recruiter…someone…to pay attention to your resume.

So what exactly does this shortened attention span mean for your job search—and more specifically, your resume? It means trends and times are changing and so should your resume. Here is my top-ten list of resume trends for 2016, which, as you’ll notice, will be largely impacted on this year’s findings.

2016 Resume Trend #1: Get In, Tell Your Story, And Get Out

Make every word count when you’re writing. In an article like this one I’ve chosen to use bold subtitles for those who like to scan or skim an article to get the main points but don’t want to dig in deeper for the details. I’ve also provided my opinion and the extra details for those who like context and an explanation to go with the points in bold. Consider doing the same with your resume. Use short, tweet-sized sentences to communicate key accomplishments, your branding statements, facts you don’t want the employer to miss. Ideally, you want critical information CALLED OUT on the resume.

2016 Resume Trend #2: Be A Ruthless Editor

Create a master resume and then go back and edit it until you have a leaner draft. Then go back and cut even more out. When you write your resume ask yourself, “Is this critical to my story or what I’m trying to convey to the employer?” If it isn’t, cut it out. Save the discarded content in a master file so you have it if you decide later you really do need it. However, consider yourself a ruthless editor, evaluate every word, every sentence for how you can make it shorter and more concise—then slash and trash what you don’t need.

2016 Resume Trend #3: Write For Scanners/Skimmers

Write for scanners and skimmers. You know the people who go through and only read the headlines of articles and newspapers or scroll through articles and only read the bolded bullet points to get the general gist of what it’s saying?

This reason is exactly why newspapers and news articles start with a great headline, give the most critical facts/details first, and then gradually fill in the not-so-critical details further down in the story. They know you want the important information first and don’t want to wait for it. Do the same in your resume. Start with your branding statement and make it answer the decision maker’s questions: “Why should I care?” or “What’s in it for me?” When time is of the essence, answering these questions first gives readers exactly what they need to know up front; then they can choose to keep on reading for any details.

I think the strategy of using a profile summary or career summary is now history. Instead, I think it should include a personal-brand snapshot. Give the reader newsworthy information in short, effective statements so they can get the facts and move on.

2016 Resume Trend #4: Use A Formula To Help Flesh Out Your Story

In resume writing we call them CAR or SAR statements. I’ve also seen the acronym PARI. Essentially, you’re sharing a challenge/situation/problem, the action you took to address it, and what the result was. Ideally you want to frame the result by sharing how it positively impacted your employer or client. These are the kinds of statements that make impact and tell a story but also give the reader context. Remember to keep it short; mercilessly edit it down to the least common denominator. In resume writing it’s also a wise practice to lead with the result/impact to the client or employer because this is usually quantifiable.

Here is a quick example of what I mean by a S.A.R. statement:

Situation/Challenge/Problem: Company operated at a loss of $960,000 in 2014.

Action: Personally vetted by CEO for company turnaround. Cut costs by 30%, revamped hiring practices to reduce turnover, overhauled budget and spending practices.

Result/Impact: Delivered $650,000 profit in 2015.

Now you can take the content from the answers to these three questions and put together a great bullet point for your resume. Fill in each with your own experiences and expertise.

2016 Resume Trend #5: Neuroscience Says Pictures Win

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco) and 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco). Use graphs, charts, and visual presentations whenever possible to share content with your audience. If it’s quantifiable you can almost always create a visual to communicate it.

On social media platforms, images or photos are shared or liked more than text. In this article they share research that states photos on Facebook are shared 75% more than articles, links or text. Although this isn’t research on resumes in particular, it does speak to how much our brains and eyes are drawn to visual stimuli. I wrote an article this autumn on what employers see when you apply on LinkedIn. The content was revelatory for many job seekers and received great praise for its insightfulness.

Be that as it may, when I created an infographic of the same content within the article and posted it on LinkedIn it was shared significantly more than the article itself. The article was published by LinkedIn on several of its channels, but was shared only four times and viewed 700. The infographic was never published on any of LinkedIn’s channels, yet it was shared 53+ times and has been viewed 2,000+ times. Evidence that visual content gets more attention.

2016 Resume Trend #6: Personal Branding IS Visual TOO

In resume writing (and the job search business in general) we tend to get hung up on the idea that our brand is all about the words we use—and it is. As career expert Deb Dib calls it, your personal brand is your “why buy ROI”. However, it’s also communicated visually—not just in words but with word pictures and with images.

Certain colors have specific meanings to your personal brand! Check out this video from Personalbranding.tv to find out what your personal branding color is and consider that it may be time to include your color brand in your resume: As a side note that’s not resume related, your LinkedIn profile is also a good place to incorporate visual branding and your personal brand color.

2016 Resume Trend #7: Bite-Sized Sentences

Funny how twitter causes us to communicate our thoughts in 140 characters or fewer. Even Twitter knows our attention spans are waning in the digital age. Our brains have adapted to new ways of absorbing content and interacting with the Internet. Now you’re forced to keep your point short and sweet. For a superfluous person like me who loves the details, I used to get so mad at Twitter for making me convey my thoughts in such short, bite-sized portions, but it really has become the necessity of our society.

With ever-decreasing attention spans, writing tweet-sized resume sentences is a sound strategy. And it’s not a trend I see fading away in the coming years either. The next time you write a sentence for your resume, see how many characters are included. And then see if you can get it down to 140 characters or fewer without losing impact. Consider what is essential and what is critical. Ditch the essential and run with the critical.

2016 Resume Trend #8: Money, Money, Money

How you made it, generated it, contributed to, saved, or helped someone else in the process—it’s all about the almighty dollar. A great example for a direct contributor is how their actions impacted the bottom-line profitability of the company. For an executive assistant it may be how her initiative and foresight allowed her boss to save money or increase billable hours.

Whatever you do, find the connection to dollars and share it. If nothing you did in some way affected costs savings or revenue generation, find the bleeding need your target company/audience has and communicate how what you’ve done in the past has stopped the bleeding!

2016 Resume Trend #9: Infographic Resumes

Infographic resumes are growing in popularity! Don’t believe me? Just search them on Pinterest. Does an infographic resume replace a traditional resume? No. Does it work for everyone? No. In some situations—and for many job seekers—there is a time and place to use an infographic resume. I’ll let you in on a little secret too—you can make your own! There is a plethora of sites you can use to design your own infographic resume, including Visme, Visually, Venngage, Piktochart, Infogr.am, and easel.ly. I’m confident you could use these sites to create graphics to incorporate into your resume too.

There are some important points you need to consider when you’re evaluating whether an infographic resume is right for you. They’re not for every industry or position. However, they can work very well for industries like marketing, sales, technology, social media, graphic design or telecomm. You may find that innovative companies, smaller organizations, or start-ups are even drawn to infographic resumes. I can see infographic resumes being a great tool when tapping into the hidden job market as you’re bypassing traditional HR departments. A January 2015 survey stated 68% of people would look at an infographic resume, 32% said it depends. Interestingly enough, not one person said they wouldn’t look at one.

2016 Resume Trend #10: Say Goodbye To ATS

The demise of applicant tracking software is upon us. Employers are discovering that computer software systems may be great at scanning keywords on a resume, but they’re not so great at discerning talent, loyalty, dedication, hard work, and most importantly FIT. While I understand ATS has its usefulness (there’s no way an HR representative can feasibly read thousands of resumes that pour in every day) their practicality and validity are waning.

Resumes, which used to function as your “first impression” to an employer, are now quickly becoming the second or third thing an employer will see about you. With the rise of social media sites such as LinkedIn, website resumes, portfolios, video resumes, and job-search strategies allowing job seekers to tap into the hidden job market and bypass sending a resume as a first introduction, the human eye is quickly becoming the #1 gatekeeper.

Keep these trends in mind when you sit down to write your resume, and you’ll be ten steps ahead of your competition.

Having a hard time writing your own resume? Let’s chat! Visit my website, call us at 480-390-4711, or connect with us on LinkedIn to discuss how I help busy job seekers create interview-winning resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.


Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!