The Big Picture: A/E/C Compensation Challenges—and Where Opportunities Lie

Where is A/E/C comp headed, and how can you prepare? Have you budgeted enough for the next 6 months? The next 24? In this session, you benefit from expert analysis of the current and near-future labor market in the U.S. and Canada, and how changes on the horizon impact your long-range compensation budgeting and planning.


  1. How demographic changes and a generational shift is upending normal succession planning
  2. Millennial employee compensation expectations that might shock you
  3. How to assess which of 3 popular compensation strategies is right for your firm
  4. How to apply the latest employment trends and data to make more shrewd decisions
  5. How to ignore anecdotal accounts and make comp offers based on the latest and most accurate data
  6. Trends in incentive compensation that offer win-win situations for all parties
  7. How to correctly address gender pay equity in your compensation strategy

Paying Non-Exempt Staff: Reduce Turnover and Disruptions with a Savvy Structure

Hourly employee pay rates may seem like the sleepy backwater of A/E/C business management, but make no mistake. Flawed compensation models for non-exempt staff can destroy profits, cause expensive turnover, and worse. Replacing even the most junior employee has shocking costs, so if you start to see a revolving door at a low paid position, get ready for a big bottom line hit.


  1. How to determine who is truly exempt from overtime rules
  2. The right (and wrong) ways to respond when an hourly employee asks for a raise
  3. How to set different pay scales for A/E-specific hourly positions than for general office support staff
  4. How to access and apply location-specific salary data to your ranges

Base Salaries for Exempt Technical and Design Staff: Win the War for Highly Trained Professionals

Great design and technical staff, the lifeblood of your firm, are the hottest thing in recruiting right now, and that means yours are probably getting approached by other headhunters on a daily basis. Problem is, you can't throw money at all of them to keep the wolves at bay, so you need a formal, logical, and defensible professional staff pay structure supported by sound financial underpinnings.


  1. Why position descriptions are a terrible way to set salaries
  2. The 4 critical factors that must guide every salary offer for design and technical professionals, and the high costs of ignoring them
  3. How to use PSMJ’s latest survey data on chargeability, billing rates and direct labor multiplier to determine the financial impacts of any anticipated salary increases
  4. How to establish an equitable market-based salary structure for key contributors and potential new hires
  5. The right way to look at gender pay equity in staff discussions

Base Salaries for Managers: Make Sure Executive Comp Justifies the Expense!

Replacing managers from outside your firm can be risky. And promoting from within carries its own risks. So if you have superstar leaders, you know you have to keep them happy-- but at what cost? In this session you learn critical formulas and metrics for establishing a base salary structure that delivers ROI and maintains vital continuity.


  1. What successful firms in your area are paying PMs and other managers
  2. Short and long-term trends driving management compensation
  3. How to justify - or decline - a manager's pay increase request
  4. 5 key elements of a great management comp policy that controls costs while inspiring top performance

Incentive Compensation: Supercharge Your Bonus Plan Effectiveness

When it comes to incentives, A/E/C firms struggle to measure bang for the buck, a significant problem in a hot economy where hitting targets doesn't always require superior performance. So how can your firm structure bonuses in a way that makes more sense for all parties? What are other firms in your market doing to incentivize their designers, technicians, leaders, and executives without breaking the bank and wasting resources? Using PSMJ's proprietary survey data, we'll dive into the thorny issues surrounding bonus comp and show where slight tweaks have outsized results.


  1. How to make your bonus program reward desired behavior
  2. What your peer firms are doing to hit ROI targets for incentive pay
  3. Unintended consequences of poorly structured plans
  4. The biggest mistakes firms make when distributing bonuses to owners
  5. How to benchmark your incentive compensation plan