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Are Architectural Firms Anti-Relocation?

BulgarBlogger

It seems as though if you are not a local resident, local firms are not prone to hiring you... is that true and if so- why?

 
Oct 8, 18 5:14 pm
senjohnblutarsky

The firms I've worked for, or known about, want someone who is going to stay around.  Being willing to move in from out-of-area implies that you'd also be willing to move out, should the right opportunity arise.  Turn-over rates are pretty normal at these places.  They lose people with regularity, but there are those folks they get and hang on to.  Those are the ones they want.  The likelihood of such an employee increases with a local-yokel. 

Oct 8, 18 5:20 pm
Archicore

I am currently having issues with this as well... or maybe my portfolio sucks, probably the latter.

This unfortunately makes it difficult to move anywhere. It's much nicer to move somewhere if you know there's a job waiting for you.

On the flip-side, employers do look for reliability, so it's understandable that they would go for someone local. The only downside I see to this is diversity reduction within firms. In the end, I think reliability is considered a much more valuable trait than the diversity one might bring from being from outside the area. And as mentioned above, employee retention is a major consideration for most firms.

Oct 8, 18 8:05 pm

Where are you trying to relocate to?

Archicore

Seattle. I ended up talking with someone there who mentioned that firms were currently a bit on edge about hiring, much more so when hiring from outside.

For a city that is a global competitor for architecture you might want to look at Chicago, New York, Atlanta, D.C., LA and San Francisco, apart from a handful of large firms Seattle is not a global hub or architecture and design on the scale of the above mentioned US cities. Many of the supper tall buildings underway or recently completed came from Chicago and New York based firms and in Chicago the labor market is very tight so finding a job should be easier.

SpontaneousCombustion

It depends what you do and how much experience you have at it.  If you're a designer, production person, or assistant PM type, with less than 8-10 years of experience, then most firms are going to think they can find someone more local. You'd have to have a good spiel about how you're moving to that location for deeply important reasons.  On the other hand if you're a PM with 10-20 years of experience in the types of projects that they do, or if you're the elusive experienced spec writer under the age of 65, then in the current hiring climate they'll probably move you across the country.

Oct 8, 18 10:15 pm
sameolddoctor

If the firm is anti-relocation, they are not the right fit. It probably means they are nervous you would bail not too long after you start, which in turn indicates they have a crap work environment.

Oct 8, 18 10:26 pm

I encourage firms to relocate. 

Oct 8, 18 11:37 pm
BulgarBlogger

I can also imagine that practice differs from state to state so a certain amount of training would be saved if a firm went with a local employee with experience in that city/county/state

Oct 8, 18 11:49 pm

So my boss explained this to me, the hiring of a person is a huge risk, bringing someone one who is local is easier as the firm will likely not pay for relocation expenses and the new person joining the team is likely to be settled into the city and the climate, what we don't want is to bring in someone, pay for their training and then have them leave because they don't like Chicago or our winters or some other reason.  If you are a regional candidate this might not be a factor but from an employer's standpoint we are trying to reduce the risk and the cost of hiring as much as possible as we are already losing months of income in the time it takes for a new employee to become profitable and the billable hours other employees need to spend training that employee.  

I would advise you to just bite the bullet and move to where you want your career to enter into it's next step, looking as a local is a huge advantage and the economy and job market is really good in some places.

 Each city has it's advantages and problems, look deeper into the cost of living, the transit and the number and quality of firms you can potentially work for. Many cities, Chicago included, are affordable and if you have the ability to live on a tight budget for a while you can probably make the move to many of the reasonably affordable cities and not starve. The risk is money and time but the rewards is to become a professional in a city you will love with a community of professionals doing work you admire and respect.

Over and OUT

Peter N

Oct 9, 18 10:21 am
flatroof

Best you can do is say in your cover letter you will move at your expense. Or get a local phone# and use call forwarding to fake it till you make it. You love that little Thai place down the street in your new neighborhood.

Oct 9, 18 11:08 am
thisisnotmyname

Lying is never a good idea in job hunting, but it's a good idea to set up a local mailing address and local phone number as part of your job search. It shows you are "in the process of moving". The address can easily be done at a UPS Store or similar mailbox place. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of firms will prioritize pursuing the applicants that appear to be local. At some point you will have to disclose your true current location to the prospective employer, but hopefully you have impressed them enough that the relocation issue is not a deal breaker.

randomised

If the majority of projects are local it makes total sense to me to hire local people who know local condition, the place, the people, the city administrators etc. 

Oct 9, 18 11:47 am
jcarch

Hiring someone who's from out of town has the added risk of that person moving to town/city X, and deciding 6 months later that they don't like it there and leaving.  We typically lose money on our employees for the first 6 months they work for us, as they're productivity is understandably low as they learn the ropes.  There's nothing worse than an employee leaving after 6 months.  On the times its happened, I've thought to myself that I might as well have just piled up $5K on the floor and burned it - I'd be in the same place financially - but have saved all the now wasted time spent training him/her.

Oct 9, 18 6:17 pm
RickB-Astoria

Ethnically, I am not one for quitting an job with an employer after only 6 months (unless conditions are so damn abhorrent and unreasonable that it would be unreasonable to stay). If I was employed, it is customary to give a year or more in any job. In this field, I would say one should strive (where possible in a reasonable working environment that is not abusive) to give at least 3 years. If there is a reasonable path towards either firm leadership or something, I'd go with longer duration as there is a reasonable incentive to stay with the firm. Employer-Employee relationship as with any relationship is a two way street.

randomised

No wonder they're leaving if you pay them $5K/6 per month :)

RickB-Astoria

Yeah. Good catch. I thought he said $5K per month for 6 month which wouldn't be bad if it was $5K per month for the first 6 months but after re-looking at it, I wouldn't even do that unless it's only a small number of hours a month. That's about 40 hours a month or 10 hours a week at about $20 an hour. Oh wait, he would still owe me money! Something like $200 plus some of that other stuff. jcarch, you might want to take a moment to clarify because I can see how randomised reached his conclusion!

threadkilla

I'm with randomised - you won't be able to retain anyone with that attitude. $5K / 6 mo. = $5.20/hr in a regular 40 hr workweek scenario. And I have a hunch you're working those poor kids OT. Doesn't McDonald's pay around $8-9/hr?

RickB-Astoria

More than that where the minimum wage in the state is higher than that. Federal minimum wage is higher than $5.20/hour.

5839

He didn't mean he paid them only 5k. He meant that's what was wasted in time to train them and lost productivity. Sheesh, you're all much too literal!

randomised

I put a smiley face for a reason!

RickB-Astoria

When the person is paid a fixed salary that requires a minimum of 40 hours a week / 2000 hours a year work, how exactly an architect earning a salary of $60,000+ really losing money by working maybe 6.5 hours more a week (1 to 1.5 hours more per work day) is losing money. You don't get paid more by working overtime. It just means you have less unpaid time to goof off, having sex with your spouse, or whatever. You get paid even if you worked a little less than 2000 hours a year but doing that might not be sustainable for long because you get laid off in that situation. 

The idea of full-time salary positions is that you work at least 40 hours a week and any additional amount of hours as needed for a fixed salary substantially more than minimum wage as you would not be getting over-time pay because you are paid a sizable income, you are working a "white collar" job (office job.). It means that if you have to work 48 hours a week then so be it.... your pay is the same. You didn't lose money because you wouldn't have gained additional money for working 8 more hours a week because you wouldn't be paid that way. Where are you actually losing money that you otherwise would have earned doing something else. If you aren't getting more pay, it doesn't make any difference. It just means you had to work more for the same pay. It isn't a technical loss because you are expected to work as many hours it takes to get the work done for all your tasks by their respective deadlines (of sorts). 

So, unless you are actually paid by the hour for every hour you work which a firm would not be in their right mind to pay Principals that way. What you have is the wasted time in training someone that you have to do it again and that can certainly get frustrating. Guess what, construction contractors have to do this all the time. They probably have to do a lot more on the job training of new employees than you ever would. Enough griping about it. There is no absolute legal mandate an employee has to stay working for your company. To keep employees, you have to have something that not only attracts but holds your employees so they want to stay instead of running.

kjdt

You're looking at this as if there were an unlimited number of hours that all of us can work, and that we can bill a new person's slower work the same as we would bill an experienced person's work.  Neither is true.  Let's say my team is working on a few projects, for which there are agreed-upon fees. Longtime Employee Sarah typically works efficiently and I can bill 35 hours or more of her time per week. I myself allot much of my time to non-billable tasks, but am still usually about 40% billable. Now let's say Sarah decides to leave the firm - it's not personal or about job dissatisfaction, it's just that her husband landed his dream job on the opposite coast.

Now I spend a bunch of time on screening job applicants, and select New Hire Bob. Bob is perfectly willing to work well above and beyond 40 hours a week - but for his first few months it doesn't really matter - he takes a lot of supervision and training and though he's spending more hours on the projects than Sarah did, I still have to write off a lot of it as non-billable training, because he's not efficient yet and the fees can't absorb all the extra hours on those projects. Plus, all that training is an investment of time on my part, and it's taking a chunk out of my hours available for billable work. I already put in far more than 40 hours per week and there's nowhere else for more hours to come from - I have family commitments, community involvement, and other aspects of a real life.

Those are the costs associated with New Hire Bob. The thought is that in the long run he'll become as or more efficient than Sarah, and those costs will be worth that. But, if he becomes homesick because he wasn't prepared for life in my location - it's too cold and we don't care about his favorite sport and the political leanings rub him the wrong way.  So he quits and moves back to Peoria, and I lose that investment of his and my time associated with his training. That's got nothing to do with what my firm was offering him in the work environment - he just didn't like it here. Now when I look for his replacement I'm more hesitant about long-distance applicants. See?

RickB-Astoria

I agree that the time it takes to train an employee for them to leave in merely 6 months is frustrating and even saddening. It doesn't always equate to an actual financial loss because the training doesn't incur an increase in pay because the people training the new employees are likely to be earning salaries where they would not be paid by the hour but a flat rate salary where the employee is paid no different whether they work 35 hours or 70 hours a week. They aren't paid more because they had to work some additional hours a week. If you have to work more hours in order to meet deadlines, you do it. People's off-time is unpaid time so the financial value is none. You don't get paid to have time to snuggle up to your spouse in bed. It's screwed up and generally unethical for employees to quit working for an employer in less than a year. Sometimes, depending on the position, it might be unethical to quit in less than 3 years. There has to be something legitimately wrong going on if people quit so frequently like 3 to 9 months duration. When I say 1 year or 3 year, it doesn't mean in similar situation that I would quit or switch firms in 1 year or 3 year. If the firm is a good firm and I get decent pay for the position and duties involved in line with overall career goals I have, there would be little reason to leave the firm even at 3 years. It doesn't mean as any reasonable person that I wouldn't leave the firm if there is something seriously wrong going on. Unless I am offered a compelling reason to stay with a firm continuously, like actual promotion to a business partner level (Principal, partner, etc.), I'm only an employee so there isn't exactly a permanence factor. In general, an employee shouldn't be thinking about looking for a new job until after maybe 3 to 5 to say.... 10 years but not like 3 to 6 to maybe 9 or 10 months unless there is some seriously troubling matters going on. The numbers are not hard line. These are kind of ball park. I know many principals would prefer employees stay throughout their whole career and retire after 30+ years. When I think of professional employment duration, look to other professions customarily requiring a bachelors or higher education or equivalent experience or combination thereof. Sometimes, people adhere to something like the "7 years" rule as much as they can because they want new challenges and experience. There is some legitimacy to that principle. That's fair and reasonable.

Fundamentally, an employee can work upwards of 80-100 hours a week. There's 168 of them. Now, I haven't read through kjdt's most recent response above yet.

kjdt

So Rick what's the update on your job search? How about refraining from Rick-splaining how firms work to us until you have a full time week in a firm under your belt.

RickB-Astoria

I'm still working on that. There are a couple I am currently considering. I have initially contacted one that I have worked with before so I am keeping them on my radar. I am also considering others as well. Technically, I am an owner of one. Well, not an "architectural firm". A firm is legally defined as a company or business. So if you want to be more precise, you can be precise in your wordage. I know what you meant but still, others can be smart ass back at you.

Yes, I have worked multiple full-time weeks at my business. It happens when you have projects and the usual tight deadlines.


kjdt

I'm talking about working as an employee in an architecture firm that has more than 1 person. You spend all this time telling others how to run firms but you've never observed one except your own - and we know that your own firm isn't exactly successful. Get some perspective somewhere else. Learn a little.

RickB-Astoria

You know its a lot easier to be successful when you can bid and procure projects of any type and size (that you are willing to do) and not have to compete with construction contractors to design those non-exempt buildings. Kind of nice to have the state carve out for you a sort of monopoly (well...oligopoly) making you and your licensed architect friends a state-sponsored cartel. If you don't have to worry about making sure you don't do projects that will get you fined and literally thrown in jail, it is a lot easier to procure projects.

kjdt

...which is why you should work for an architect. So you can work on real projects. And get experience. So you can finish IDP/AXP. So you can get licensed and work on whatever. And so you could learn some things about how firms operate and not sound like such a naive pretender trying to give advice about things you don't really know. Think about how it would be to actually know.

RickB-Astoria

Completing AXP & passing the ARE alone doesn't get me licensed as far a I can tell.

RickB-Astoria

As for my business to engage in "practice of Architecture". In Washington, ONE architect licensed in Washington as a "Designated Architect". In Oregon, I either convert business to Inc. or I form a subsidiary business that is incorporated and have at least TWO architects forming the board of directors. I could use the business name "Astoria Building Design, Inc." for the subsidiary or conversion and then file an ABN (dba) as "Astoria Building Design - Architecture" to meet OBAE requirements for architectural firm registration. As for AXP, it is possible in that situation that I could get AXP hours. HOWEVER, the architects would have to have some ownership stake in the process so they aren't easily hired or fired by me on a whim so as to satisfy NCARB concerns.

kjdt

... which is all complicated nonsense. No licensed architect is going to want to help you form that firm. As for you getting licensed: there are many states where you can do that with AXP and experience. You're a grownup. Relocate.

RickB-Astoria

Complicated? No. Just paper work which I already know how to do.... correctly. 

Alternative paths to licensure by experience or education & experience:

Yes, state of Washington does allow that but I don't absolutely have to live in Washington state or work in Washington state for getting initial licensure under Washington or even California. Again some number of years of experience and if some of the education is applied, it would modify those numbers.

kjdt

If it's going to be "just paperwork" for you to set up a firm with two architects as your partners, and have them sign off on your experience at that firm, then you're just scamming the system.

RickB-Astoria

Setting up the firm would be "just paperwork". Signing off AXP would be under their supervision and control. What part of they would be in control of all work of the business that constitutes practice of architecture? Independent work in building design of exempt buildings by me would not count for AXP. Duh. As for signing off on AXP earned under their supervision and control shouldn't be an issue. How would I be 'scamming the system' ? The key is the work would have to comply with the following: 

DIRECT SUPERVISION: 

“Direct supervision” of an AXP participant must occur either through personal contact and/or remote communication (e.g. email, online markups, webinars, Internet), provided that your supervisor maintains control over your work and has sufficient professional knowledge to determine the competency of your performance.

If the work wasn't performed according to that standard in which I would obviously be paid, then how is it really "scamming the system". It should not be a burden for honest people to perform this work with integrity.

Why would it be an additional burden beyond what it would be to hire an AXP "intern". Why would it be any different if everyone is doing their basic job of record keeping?


RickB-Astoria

FYI: 

If I were to add architects into my business structure whether I do LLC to Corporation conversion or form a separate subsidiary that is incorporated and then have an ABN for it with the added word "Architecture" or something of the sort complying with OBAE firm registration rules then I would obviously be bearing liability to every project of the whole business enterprise as would those architects so it wouldn't be like the architect would have all the liability and I don't. It won't work that way for me in that situation because I would have skin in the game and any lawsuit would be borne by the owners (within the scope of limited liability protections) but as an owner, I would be intrinsically enjoined to any tort or negligence claim placed against the architect and firm. Some of the theory of unlicensed person won't bear liability to actions of a licensed professional or the theory of unlicensed employees bears no liability does not quite apply in the scenario. It may sound complicated but no more than it is for a group of architects starting their own firm. My being unlicensed won't matter in the situation. 

If I take care of the firm paperwork with the various state or states' agencies and local jurisdiction, that is just paper work and forms that is inherently part of running any business. Of course it isn't absolutely all that it takes to be successful. That's what a mutual effort to seek, procure, bid, or otherwise projects as needed. Then we obviously would have the contract matters which for architectural services would be lead by the Principal architects who at any early stage would be architect of record / Project Architects. The project team would be all of us but the firm's architects would be in charge of "Architectural services" not "Building Design services" which albeit overlaps but the label defines a different scope and terminology used and the project's design professional in charge. Would it be me or the architects? These would be where we can profoundly differentiate role and when architectural services are use the ABN with "architecture" in the name would be used. This would be part of a brand use strategy. 

Any such administrative oversight of the business does not mean I control the architectural services of the business. The architects would. At this time, it's all hypothetical but I know there are people already doing something similar to this in Oregon. 


kjdt

What's the incentive for any architect to want to join that firm? I know there are people who have similar arrangements - but in those cases the unlicensed person has something to offer, usually some combination of: established repeat client base; name recognition; venture capital. Why would any architect partner with you?

jcarch

Wow, I'm off the internet for a couple of days, and find that my comment has lead to an OED's worth of replies including a PhD dissertation on how RickB will structure his future business. I'm both honored and horrified.

RickB-Astoria

kjdt, that's always a challenge isn't it? Why people join and partner runs the gamut. Why would any architect partner with me? Business is business. How about if I obtain the RGC license from CCB? While I may also be CPBD by that point in time of any such serious discussion of business partnering. What would our market sector be? 1) Historic Preservation/Restoration/Renovation and related services, 2) Residential projects, 3) Light Commercial projects, 4) With architects partnered - building type projects would be across all types of buildings and projects. What may I provide, connection to the local area. I'm not entirely unknown. If we consider the factors involved, we all bring something to the table. With a team of 3 to 5 or so, we bring our resources together as a team. So if I have CPBD certification + RGC license (eventually, we can up that to CGC), I would be bringing historic preservation knowledge and skills including familiarity of the trades used and connection with people trained or otherwise skilled in the specific crafts and trades, we can deliver with full control from design through construction. The architects would be in charge of any services requiring the architect license and any project that doesn't require a licensed architect that the architects want to work on. Becoming licensed as an RGC doesn't require much for a legal requirement. Sure, the architects could decide to pursue this process to be the RMIs of an RGC tier licensed business so we distribute our roles and responsibilities if we did. I can pursue that direction but likely it would take time, patience, perseverance, etc. It wouldn't be something that would happen in a week's time.

kjdt

They can just as easily start their own residential contracting business. You don't bring anything special to it. Anyway the startup costs for a small residential contracting business average ~30k and given that you said it took you 4 or 5 years just to pay off 35k in student loans I'm guessing you don't have that sitting around to invest. There are very, very, very few architects who are going to care about a CPBD certificate - it brings no value. In the unlikely event that they did care, they could just pay for their own certificate - why bring you in at all? You need to stop fantasizing about complicated schemes and get a regular job. It's not that the paperwork for your schemes is complicated - anybody can do that - it's that it's complicated to run a profitable business and you've got more than a decade-long record demonstrating that you haven't got what it takes.

RickB-Astoria

Sure, anyone can be anything if they want to do that. Sure, the architects could surely pursue the contracting license but do the particular architects desire to do that. As for start-up cost for residential contracting costs runs different mileage. Those usually are for buying equipment, tools, computers, some supplies but some of that is hiring a crew and some marketing. It doesn't have to cost $30K for start-up. There is different arrangements in how to set up such a construction firm. FYI: I do have a variety of tools used for construction work including specialized tools.

RickB-Astoria

With or without architects as business partners. I have been considering the RGC license for some time in addition to the CPBD certification and other certifications. One of the things clients are looking for in services for residential and even small commercial projects is design-build. For the reason of peace of mind, the one point of contact for the client for all matters of design & construction is the simplicity of process. While there maybe an array of sub-contracted trades involved, the client's contact is one party who is responsible for the project from design to completion of the built work. Projects are complex enough as it is so anything that simplifies the process are helpful to bringing peace to mind for the client. So does certification. Design-build services are particularly popular. An RGC license would help me be more competitive with the market. The CPBD certification serves its purpose as well as other certifications for their specific purposes.

RickB-Astoria

You can put new employees on a salary as well where it is fixed amount at some amount just above that of the FLSA (and State equivalent if they have a different yet higher level). For example: If I recall correctly, employees are exempt from overtime under the FLSA at $455 hours a week or $23,600 a year. So if you set it at $36,000 a year or so, the employee would be exempt from overtime and he or she would be working as many hours a week to meet deadlines. So would you who makes a $60K or higher salary. Remember, you're overtime exempt employee especially if you are earning $100K and if you work 168 hours a week, you get the same pay. Where is the increase in your total payout for your labor. Consider the fact that you are considered overtime exempt employee because you are in a "learned profession"... hence PROFESSIONALLY EXEMPT. You work to get ALL your assigned duties done to meet deadlines.... right? Your employee would be basically an exempt administrative job. As Principal, you might be considered that under both "executive" and "professional" exemption. While you won't necessarily have an actual capital loss BUT I can still see you being hesitant that after putting the personal time to train someone that they quit especially so shortly after you trained them. I can see that. I just critical of actual loss in money which somewhat rings the "bullshit" sensor. If I was paid $100,000 a year, that pay is a salary contract where I am paid $100,000 but such condition would require I work full-time.... basically 2000 hours a year considering two weeks of allowed time off hence 2000 hours. However, the fact of life is I may have to work well over 40 hours a week to get the work done whether or not I'm working 40 hours a week or 160 HOURS a week (crazy that would be) or anywhere in between. If I had a new hire I'm assigned to train, it's just another task on the pile of duties to perform and still have deadlines to meet. Guess what, I have to fulfill the duties and meet the deadlines. It sucks because I would have less time per week to unwind, fun or any other things I might liked to do on my personal time but guess what, I have to work my ass off but I'm paid no differently whether I am working 40 hours or 90 or 100 or 125 hours or whatever number of hours a week (up to 168 hours a week... absolute maximum). The cash difference isn't different. It is that I'm working more hours for my $100K. When you are salaried and working an overtime exempt position, you aren't paid for overtime hours nor would there be any of that time & a half multiplier because you are not on a wage based employment. What you most certainly have is emotional and personal investment in training the person but if they quit in such a short time for whatever reason, I can see you being hesitant to go through that kind of trouble with another prospective employee in similar arrangement. When burned in such a situation, you'd be hesitant to go through a similar situation again. I do get that. That is a legitimate argument to me.


Oct 10, 18 4:18 pm
kjdt

The exempt vs. non-exempt thing isn't my point. It doesn't matter how many hours Bob works - I'm not going to be able to get the same output from him. Most of what I'm paying him is just going into his training time, because I can't turn around and bill even the same amount of hours as I used to bill for Sarah. I'm subsidizing Bob. And anyway, even if theoretically I could get a Sarah worth of good work from Bob if Bob would just work 80 hours to make it happen, that's not going to make Bob a happy, productive, functional person. Besides which, I'd have to be there much of the time to supervise. I don't want Bob or me working 80 hours per week. What I want is to just subsidize Bob until he's up to speed - which should be in 6 months to a year - and then I'll recoup my investment from his future output.

And, depending on Bob's past education and experience, I can't just label him salaried professional exempt based on salary alone.  The DOL has cracked down on architecture firms in recent years on that.  Usually he'd have to have at least a year of full time experience if he has a related degree, and several years of experience if he doesn't, or I still have to pay him overtime.  There are other tests too, about how much the person can independently manage their time and deadlines in the job, whether they have management duties, etc.  The most "dangerous" people to label exempt are those without professional or 4-year degrees who have limited experience, require supervision, and don't get to manage their own deadlines.  If you don't pay overtime in that situation you can be looking at years of back pay and fines.

RickB-Astoria

Lets take a moment and look at this: https://www.aia.org/articles/77301-understanding-overtime-pay-rules-the-profess:46 

Where does Bob and Sarah fall into this? What is their role? What are their predominate job duties? I'm assuming Bob and Sarah meet the overtime exemption under the "professional" exemption.

I'm not sure if the minimum salary threshold has been raised up AND in active affect. I believe the Obama era overtime rule provision was held up by he U.S. District Court  for the Eastern District of Texas. I'm not sure where it is really at. Let's just assume the salary threshold is met for sake of sanity.


kjdt

The salary minimum was not raised. That was expected in late 2017, but in the end it didn't happen. With fairly entry-level people in architecture firms the DOL's usual tests are whether they have professional degrees, whether they have some independent control over their own means and methods of their job and how they meet deadlines, and how much experience they have. If Bob and Sarah are both architecture school grads with at least a year of experience then the DOL is generally ok with classifying them exempt. If they have less than a year of experience they're not ok with it, regardless of how much their salary is. If Bob is a 2-year tech school grad then the DOL may not be ok with it unless he has substantially more experience (8 years is what we were told when the DOL investigated a firm I worked at) or if he's in a management role.

RickB-Astoria

I think the years are more or less irrelevant as that is more and a guideline than a rule as it isn't a rule codified anywhere. I think the defined duties and responsibility matters. If someone has like 2 year degree then at least 3+ years of experience would be about equivalent to someone with a 5 year NAAB degree. It depends. Of course, how the firm designate responsibilities would be up to each firm obviously. The mileage of degree+experience may vary to be deemed exempt for overtime.

kjdt

When somebody makes a report to the DOL, they send investigators, who use these kinds of general guidelines to sort everyone. It's possible that different teams can be using different rules - I'm just telling you what they used when they came into one of my former employers' and determined who was misclassified and who was owed back overtime. 1 year was used across the board for anyone with at least a 4-year architecture-related degree - so the only people that were problematic were those hired fresh out of school with no previous experience. But for people without the degree they used different rules depending on role. If they were a PM or the manager of IT or anything like that then they were considered management and it didn't matter how many years' experience they had, beyond one. But if they were a production drafter, renderer, etc. who wasn't management then they used 8 years. They interviewed all employees about their responsibilities, in order to verify what the firm told them.  There is an appeal process a firm can use if they don't agree with a team's ruling - but it's typically fruitless unless there was some huge factual error or obvious misconduct by the investigators.  So actually the guidelines used by the investigators are more relevant than anything else, codified or not.

RickB-Astoria

Alright.

Arch_grad2.0

I was hired from “out of town” about a month before finishing school. It wasn’t easy, I filled/sent out about 40 resumes/cover letters/ portfolios. In the end I found a good opportunity in a city I’ve grown to love over the past couple of months.


There was a period when I was having panic attacks about finding work. Not hearing from some firms really was demoralizing, you would think they would at say “no thanks, we’re not hiring”.



Oct 10, 18 7:51 pm

I have convinced this month one firm to relocate. They are retiring.

Oct 11, 18 1:18 pm

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