One in five design and engineering firms cut pay of top leaders, says ZweigWhite survey

April 08, 2009 |

WAYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS— Twenty-one percent of architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms cut principals’ pay in 2008, according to the 2009 Principals, Partners & Owners Survey, the latest study from ZweigWhite. This is reflected by a $5,000 drop in principals’ salaries since 2007, when the median principal’s base salary reached a 10-year high of $135,000.

Presumably, these figures have become even more pronounced since survey data was collected in January and February. “Like many economic indicators, these statistics reflect activity and conditions from several months ago. Many firms were carried through the early months of the recession by healthy backlogs, and are just now feeling the real cash flow impact of the economic downturn,” says Ian Rusk, president and CEO of ZweigWhite. “We've heard from more firms looking to adjust compensation levels of senior management in the last two months than we did all of last year.”

ZweigWhite’s Principals, Partners & Owners Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms is the only report for, by, and about top managers in U.S.-based A/E firms. It is available from the publisher at

About ZweigWhite

ZweigWhite is the nation’s leading source of business management services for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. The ZweigWhite team consists of experts in strategic business planning, business valuation, ownership transition, human resources management, finance and administration, mergers and acquisitions, market research, marketing, project management and project delivery methods who collectively produce a comprehensive suite of products and services, including newsletters, industry reports, executive training, business conferences, and advisory services covering virtually every aspect of firm management. The firm is headquartered in Wayland, Mass., with additional offices in Chicago, Ill. and Washington, D.C.

Contact Kaitlyn­ Holmes: kholmes@zweigwhite.comor 1-800-466-6275

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