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Engineering services industry, 2015

Released: 2017-03-16

Operating revenue for the engineering services industry was $27.9 billion in 2015, down 7.1% from 2014. During the same period, operating expenses decreased by 4.2% to $24.8 billion. This resulted in an operating profit margin of 11.0%, down from 13.7% in 2014.

Firms in Alberta generated 32.9% of the industry operating revenue, followed by Ontario (27.5%), Quebec (16.6%) and British Columbia (14.6%). The decline experienced in two of the three largest provinces contributed to the overall downward movement in the industry. Alberta, which was impacted by the collapse in the world price of petroleum, saw industry operating revenue decline by 17.2%. Operating revenue of Quebec engineering firms declined by 9.4% during a period of lower investments in non-residential building construction, which dropped 7.4% from 2014 to 2015.

Nationally, petroleum and petrochemical engineering projects (16.7%) remained the largest source of sales for engineering firms, followed by commercial, public and institutional building projects (13.6%). Transportation engineering projects (9.7%) rounded out the top three. In 2015, residential building projects increased their relative share of total sales to 7.9%, up from 6.4% in 2014.

Salaries, wages, commissions and benefits remain the largest expense item for engineering services in 2015, accounting for 46.9% of total operating expenses. Cost of goods sold (13.3%) was the next largest, followed by subcontracts (11.9%).

Clients in the business sector generated 66.9% of sales for the engineering services industry, followed by governments and public institutions (17.8%), clients outside Canada (13.5%) and households (1.8%).

Sales to the United States accounted for 38.2% of exports, followed by Mexico with 3.2%. Sales to all other countries accounted for the remaining 58.7%.

  Note to readers

Data for 2013 and 2014 have been revised.

Data related to investments in non-residential building construction are taken from CANSIM table 026-0016.

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