In the short two months that Heritage Business Journal has been available, we have had readers from 23 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. If you are a reader in one of these countries, thank you! We are pleased to be a center for information sharing and hope you found what you read valuable. However, we also want to know what is going on with the heritage industry in your country! If you have a passion for the business side of the heritage industry and don’t mind contributing a post at least once a month, we would love to have you join Heritage Business Journal as a correspondent or analyst. Share what you know with other readers in your country and around the globe. Interested? Just fill out our form, it’s at the bottom of the page, and I’ll personally get back to you.
In an HBJ post from February (6 February 2012), Christopher Dore noted a recent report from Colorado that summarized the economic impacts of preservation on local and national economies. Reports like this have become increasingly common as many become more aware and accepting of the positive benefits of preservation. Just during the recent economic slump in the U.S. economy, similar reports have emerged out of Nebraska, Washington state, and Pennsylvania, to name a few, followed in November 2011 by a report from the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP), an independent federal agency.
One of the conclusions that emerges from these types of studies, which is particularly relevant in the current economic climate, is that historic preservation activities creates jobs, a point consistently made by Donovan Rypkema, an economist and preservationist and one of the lead authors of the ACHP report, who generalizes that spending for new construction is split about half and half between labor and materials, while between approximately two-thirds and three-quarters of rehabilitation spending goes toward labor and the remaining to materials. This means that rehabilitation projects not only produce jobs and employ local labor, but it puts the money into the hands of those that live in the community rather than sending it outside, which is what typically happens when money is spent on materials. Additionally, small businesses are responsible for creating the vast majority of new jobs in America, and historic buildings often provide the ideal location out of which to run a new or small business carrying on the domino effect of the positive economic benefits of preservation. Read more…
On 2 May 2012 a workshop will be held at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, funded by the UCL Institute of Archaeology and hosted by the Institute of Archaeology History of Archaeology Network.
Financing Archaeology will address directly the issue of funding in archaeology at a time when funding for research is in jeopardy. By taking a long-range view of the ways in which archaeologists have dealt with limited funding (particularly government funding) in the past, the workshop will provide a historical background to current economic debates on funding an archaeology, tying the historical context firmly to the modern day. It also will also provide a platform for discussing public engagement in archaeology, and the (economic) value of archaeology in a broader social and political context.
Papers have been requested on any of the following themes:
- Stretching the Pound: Excavation Funding on Site
- “We publish an Appeal…”: Fundraising for Archaeological…
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Australia’s “two-speed economy” features a dynamic mining and energy sector, contrasted to flagging retail and manufacturing business. Heritage consulting firms in Australia continue to flourish through providing heritage management services for mining and energy developments throughout the country.
According to current Australian Government budget projections, “following growth of 34% in resources investment in 2010‑11, resources companies expect to increase their capital expenditure by a further 74% in 2011‑12, supporting a strong outlook for commodity exports and activity in the related construction and services sectors.” The growth of resources sector investment in Australia for the 2011 calendar year is reported at $450 billion.
Western Australia has the highest value and fastest growth, particularly in iron ore, petroleum and natural gas. The value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry reached a record high of $101.2 billion in 2010–11 representing an increase of 39 per cent over the previous year. This amounted to nearly 57% of Australia’s total output of minerals and energy, as a major provider of these commodities on the world stage. However, minerals and energy products constituted 95% of Western Australia’s Merchandise Exports in 2010-11, illustrating the dominance of this sector of the economy. The fastest growth continues to be in the Pilbara region in the north-west of Western Australia, featuring hundreds of billions of dollars of iron ore and natural gas resource projects. Read more…
Last week in the Federal Register, the United States Small Business Administration increased 37 small business size standards for 34 industries in Sector 54, Professional, Technical, and Scientific Services. Under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), used by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the industry code for Environmental Consulting Services (541620) was increased from $7 to $14 million. The majority of cultural resource consulting firms in North America are in the Environmental Consulting Services category. This change was effective yesterday, 12 March 2012.
Within the United States, many, perhaps the majority, of cultural resource compliance service contracts issued by the federal government are set aside for small businesses. This new, larger, small business size category will change the competitive landscape by allowing firms with annual revenue up to $14 million to compete directly with truly small firms for small business contracts. The American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA), the trade organization for the heritage compliance sector, classifies small firms as those with annual revenue below $400,000, medium firms as those with annual revenue between $400,000 and $1.5 million, and large firms as those having annual revenue above $1.5 million. This new ruling will not provide any protection for truly small heritage firms, those in ACRA’s small and medium categories, and create head-to-head market competition for all firms below the $14 million threshold. For companies who target the federal contracting sector, there is now an advantage to being larger and this may prompt a new round of heritage firm mergers and acquisitions in North America.
A very thoughtful comment was made about HBJ post Employment: Multidisiplinary firms vs. heritage-only firms (18 Feb 2012):
“Large multi-service firms tend hire and terminate for each project because their offices rarely have enough local work to retain technicians. They tend to have centralized full time labs and production centers that do not have positions for techs for after fieldwork tasks. Whereas many hertiage-only company like CRA use full-time technicians in a variety of tasks. The ability to live near a company’s office(s) to come in and do post-fieldwork tasks is the key to full time work. In addition the ability to move techs and other staff between offices reduce the need for temporary project specific techs except for the largest field projects. Plus in any given year we receive enough cold call applicants from technicians with good resumes that simply working the resume file drawer eliminates the need for an ad for most projects.”Steve Creasman and Kay Simpson
A high turnover of technicians in multi-service firms could easily explain why there are more job advertisements from these types of companies than from heritage-only firms. To explore this more, I also took a look at senior positions (e.g. principle investigators, senior archaeologists, office/regional managers) for the same 2011 data set. Of course titles are not standardized across the sector and names can be misleading, but a full 46% of the job advertisements reviewed asked for 10-25 years of experience and 55% asked for 5-9 years of experience (a slight overlap with some asking for 8-12 years). The job descriptions and requirements (years of experience, permits, etc.) firmly place these jobs in the top levels of employment regardless of title. None of these jobs mentioned temporary employment but that does not mean it is not. However, asking for 20 years of experience for a temporary job would be rare but not unheard of (or it should be in my personal opinion). Out of 79 job postings, 61 of them mentioned their employers (some of the job postings have been removed making it impossible to see who was the employer). In this data set the breakdown is even more lopsided in favor of multi-service firms
Heritage-only firms may look for their top-level workers through other means than advertisement such as internal promotion or through professional networks. A lack of lower level positions in multi-service firms may make it hard for them to recruit internally. What these data do show is that the majority of job advertisements for archaeologists at all career levels was dominated by multi-service firms in 2011. Does this mean they get the majority of business? That can not be determined from these numbers but employment may indicate strong growth prospects.