Architectural and Engineering Managers

Summary

architectural and engineering managers image
Architectural and engineering managers review plans for projects they oversee.
Quick Facts: Architectural and Engineering Managers
2012 Median Pay $124,870 per year
$60.03 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 193,800
Job Outlook, 2012-22 7% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 13,100

What Architectural and Engineering Managers Do

Architectural and engineering managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Work Environment

Most architectural and engineering managers spend their workday in an office. Some also may work in industrial plants and laboratories or at construction sites. Although most work full time, about half worked more than 40 hours a week in 2012.

How to Become an Architectural or Engineering Manager

Architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable work experience as an architect or engineer.

Pay

The median annual wage for architectural and engineering managers was $124,870 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of architectural and engineering managers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will largely reflect the growth of the industries in which these managers are employed. Very strong competition for jobs can be expected.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of architectural and engineering managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about architectural and engineering managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Architectural and Engineering Managers Do

Architectural and engineering managers
Architectural and engineering managers spend much of their time supervising employees.

Architectural and engineering managers plan, coordinate, and direct activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Duties

Architectural and engineering managers typically do the following:

  • Make detailed plans for the development of new products and designs
  • Lead research and development teams that produce new products, processes, or designs
  • Check the technical accuracy of their team’s work
  • Ensure the soundness of methods their staff uses
  • Coordinate work with other teams and managers
  • Propose budgets for projects and programs
  • Determine staff, training, and equipment needs
  • Hire, assign, and supervise staff

Architectural and engineering managers use their knowledge of architecture or engineering to oversee a variety of activities. They may direct and coordinate production, operations, quality assurance, testing, or maintenance at manufacturing sites, industrial plants, engineering services firms, and research-and-development laboratories.

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or for solving technical problems preventing the completion of a project. To accomplish their aim, they must determine technical goals and produce detailed plans.  

Architectural and engineering managers spend a great deal of time coordinating the activities of their unit with the activities of other units or organizations. They often confer with other managers, including financial, production, and marketing managers, and with contractors and equipment and materials suppliers.

In addition, architectural and engineering managers must know how to prepare budgets and hire and supervise employees. They propose budgets for projects and programs and determine staff, training, and equipment needs. These managers also must hire people and assign them to carry out specific parts of each project. Architectural and engineering managers supervise the work of their employees and set schedules and administrative procedures.

Work Environment

Architectural and engineering managers
Architectural and engineering managers frequently work in groups.

Architectural and engineering managers held about 193,800 jobs in 2012.

Architectural and engineering managers spend most of their time working in offices. Some also may work in laboratories and industrial production plants or at construction sites.

The industries that employed the most architectural and engineering managers in 2012 were as follows: 

Manufacturing36%
Architectural, engineering, and related services23
Government9
Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction5
Scientific research and development services5

Work Schedules

Although most managers work full time, about half worked more than 40 hours a week in 2012. As a result, workers often experience considerable pressure to meet deadlines and budgets.

How to Become an Architectural or Engineering Manager

Architectural and engineering managers
Architectural and engineering managers help to develop and train their employees.

Architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable work experience as an architect or engineer.

Education

The vast majority of architectural and engineering managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty or a professional degree in architecture.

Many also gain business management skills by completing a master’s degree in engineering management (MEM or MsEM) or technology management (MSTM) or a master’s in business administration (MBA), either before or after advancing to management positions. Employers will sometimes pay for such education. Typically, those who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MsEM or MSTM and those interested in more general management skills earn an MBA.

Engineering management programs usually include classes in accounting, engineering economics, financial management, industrial and human resources management, and quality control.

Technology management programs typically provide instruction in production and operations management, project management, computer applications, quality control, safety and health issues, statistics, and general management principles.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Managers advance to their positions after years of employment as an architect or engineer. They usually have experience working on increasingly difficult projects, developing designs, solving problems, and making decisions. Before moving up to a management position, they also typically have experience leading engineering teams.                              

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Architectural and engineering managers must evaluate information carefully and be able to solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Architectural and engineering managers oversee staff and confer with other levels of management. They must communicate orders effectively and be able to lead teams to meet goals. 

Detail oriented. Architectural and engineering managers must pay attention to detail. Their duties require an understanding of complex systems, and a minor error can cause major problems.

Math skills. Architectural and engineering managers use calculus and other advanced mathematics to develop new products and processes.

Organizational skills. Architectural and engineering managers keep track of many workers, schedules, and budgets all at once.

Technical skills. Managers in these fields must thoroughly understand the specific area (architecture or a particular type of engineering) that they are managing.

Pay

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Architectural and engineering managers

$124,870

Management occupations

$93,910

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for architectural and engineering managers was $124,870 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $80,300, and the top 10 percent earned more than $187,200. 

In May 2012, the median annual wages for architectural and engineering managers in the top five industries in which these managers worked were as follows:

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction$147,250
Scientific research and development services142,310
Manufacturing124,000
Architectural, engineering, and related services123,310
Government119,240

 

In addition, architectural and engineering managers, especially those at higher levels, often receive more benefits—such as expense accounts and bonuses—than nonmanagers.

Although most managers work full time, about half worked more than 40 hours a week in 2012. As a result, workers often experience considerable pressure to meet deadlines and budgets.

Job Outlook

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Total, all occupations

11%

Management occupations

7%

Architectural and engineering managers

7%

 

Employment of architectural and engineering managers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will largely reflect the growth of the industries in which these managers are employed.

For example, the engineering services industry is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, adding the most new architectural and engineering manager jobs. Engineering services is composed of consulting firms that provide services to many different industries. Civil engineering services related to the construction of large buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects are the most common services provided by this industry. Demand for these services is expected to be high as the nation’s aging infrastructure needs repair and expansion. Mechanical and electrical engineering services are also commonly provided by this industry and will continue to be used on many different projects.

However, employment in manufacturing—the largest industry employing architectural and engineering managers—is projected to decline by 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, impeding overall growth of the occupation. 

Job Prospects

Because these jobs are highly desirable, candidates can expect very strong competition for openings.

Those with technical knowledge, strong communication skills, and years of related work experience will likely be in the best position to become managers.

In addition, because architectural and engineering managers are involved in the financial, production, and marketing activities of their firm, business management skills can be beneficial for those seeking management positions.

Employment projections data for Architectural and Engineering Managers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Architectural and engineering managers

11-9041 193,800 206,900 7 13,100 [XLS]

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of architectural and engineering managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2012 MEDIAN PAY
Architects

Architects

Architects plan and design houses, office buildings, and other structures.

Bachelor’s degree $73,090
Chemical engineers

Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for large-scale safe and sustainable manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing products and treating byproducts, and supervise production.

Bachelor’s degree $94,350
Civil engineers

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, construct, supervise, operate, and maintain large construction projects and systems, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.

Bachelor’s degree $79,340
Construction managers

Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from development to completion.

Bachelor’s degree $82,790
Electrical and electronics engineers

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment. Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems—from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPS).

Bachelor’s degree $89,630
Industrial production managers

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Bachelor’s degree $89,190
Mechanical engineers

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

Bachelor’s degree $80,580
Natural sciences managers

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production.

Bachelor’s degree $115,730
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Architectural and Engineering Managers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/architectural-and-engineering-managers.htm (visited September 30, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014