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Market report: Sound engineers


Soldiers of sound


Ongoing diversifi cation of workload and an encouraging level of confi dence in the overall outlook for the live business characterise this year’s engineers survey. But as David Davies reports, the continuing client emphasis on cutting costs is having some negative effect on morale


NOW IN its fi fth year, the engineers’ survey has consistently monitored (pardon the pun) European engineers’ progress through a time of profound change. When it commenced in 2010, the survey refl ected a period of some uncertainty for engineers, and many of the trends initiated then – static pay rates and intense competition for work – have continued to exert an infl uence to the present day. In one notable development, the 2013 report refl ected a marked diversifi cation in engineers’ workloads – with an increasing number taking on projects outside of live music/ theatre, in fi xed installation, conference events and general


6 l PSNLIVE 2014 E1: ORIGIN OF RESPONDENTS


UK 51% Denmark 10% Belgium 10% France 8% Netherlands 8% Germany 3% Norway 3% Croatia 3% Cyprus 2% Finland 2%


corporate work. This willingness to move into other areas has done much to maintain good overall activity levels for engineers. The trend remains a defi ning


feature of the 2014 survey, which again is dominated by responses from the UK, Denmark and Belgium (Graph E1). Many thanks to all for their time and patience in answering these questions.


CORE DATA In an encouraging initial fi nding, the percentage of engineers who predicated that their workload would increase in this full calendar year rose slightly to 49%, with only 15% expecting a decline (Graph E2). There was also a very modest rise in the percentage of engineers anticipating a rise in average payment per project (18% in total), although, as in previous years, the largest single percentage (64%) expected it to remain unchanged (Graph E3). The continued increase in importance of conference/ summit work was refl ected in an enquiry about the key contributors to engineers’ income this year – although live music (in a combination of traditional concert halls and clubs/pubs) accounted for 48% of workloads (Graph E4). Theatrical


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