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PWC PDAC Q3 EVENT: Deal or No Deal: Negotiating for a Better Future

New York

August 29, 2019

The PWC Professional Development Advisory Council is hosting an event to openly discuss an enigmatic topic of our professional world: Salary.

Professionals are clamoring for an open discussion to gain insight on what they and their colleagues should be earning. Engagement in a conversation by all types of AEC employers and employees is vital to understanding the obstacles and opportunities in this field.

In an effort to address and illuminate this professional unknown, the event will discuss matters related to compensation within the AEC industry, including an understanding of salary ranges, practicing negotiation techniques, and building confidence in the process of sealing the “deal”.

The main characteristics and essential skills that will be discussed are confidence, identifying qualified value to an organization, having the ability to provide concrete examples of accomplishments, and openly communicating salary requirements.

The event will begin with presentations by Wendy Zang, Managing Consultant, and Lee Grandovic, Regional Manager, New York City, from Helbling & Associates, an AEC industry leader in executive search consulting.

Wendy and Lee will provide an overview of AEC salary trends, engage a broad dialogue on talent development, and provide some tips on how to gain self-confidence. Additionally, they will cover the pros and cons to the new salary disclosure laws in NYC that do not allow employers to ask candidates their previous salary.

The overriding theme for Wendy and Lee’s presentation is context. Candidates should be asking themselves the questions that reach beyond the immediate decision: What is the longer view with respect to career path and life choices? What is important to you?  It is significant to understand the difference between working for an institution versus a contractor or a private consulting company.

From health benefits, work-life balance, commuting distance, dollar earnings, and perks, to overriding personal and professional needs and goals, understanding personal context in relation to opportunities is a critical tool for determining the best fit for employment. Wendy suggests using a confident approach to opportunities and decision-making through interactive discussions and personal and professional resources to create the context for discussion. The salary negotiation is not win or lose but rather a conversation to determine priorities, address genuine needs, and make compromises that are acceptable to all.

Additionally, Wendy observes that market conditions are changing, and the demand for certain types of talent is high. While market conditions can always fluctuate based on the economy and social trends, she anticipates future opportunities due to population changes. She says, “Do not underestimate the generational shift with baby boomers retiring.”

Wendy posits that this is a significant moment for professional women. The larger professional community is increasingly valuing women’s contributions, as evidenced by increased work-life accommodations and recognition for high performance, as well as making efforts to assemble a more diverse workforce by hiring more women and minority candidates.

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Following the presentations, PDAC will engage select mock interviewers and member volunteers as employees or job candidates in highly interactive role-play scenarios designed to sponsor professional success.  Scenarios will include:

  • Negotiating for a raise;
  • Increasing responsibility and creating a path for job promotion;
  • Making changes in work schedule or environment to develop personal or professional needs; and
  • Discussing salary, reviewing terms, and accepting an offer of employment.

The four interviewer-candidate scenarios will be fast, animated, and on-point as professionals at different points in their career and in various industry positions, pose challenging and realistic questions to employees who must stand by salary and title requirements.  Following each scenario, PDAC will engage the audience in a brief Q&A about the interaction between the volunteer players and the potential lesson(s) learned from the outcome.

PDAC anticipates that member professionals will gain valuable insight for establishing their own strengths, cultivating self-advocacy, and having confidence in salary and employment negotiations for immediate and future success.

Join us on September 10th for this much-anticipated PWC member-only event!

#hellopwc #pwcpdac #dealornodeal #professionalwomeninconstruction

Event Details:

Tuesday September 10, 2019
5:30 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Allsteel Showroom
79 Madison Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10016



Helbling & Associates is a retained executive search-consulting firm that specializes exclusively in the areas of construction, facilities management, real estate development, and engineering.  Among our clients are many of the country’s most prestigious higher education, healthcare, cultural, public agency, and corporate entities, as well as top general, specialty, and heavy civil contractors, real estate development companies, and engineering firms.

Wendy Zang, Managing Consultant, has been a search consultant with Helbling since 2015, and manages searches in both the New York City and Mid-Atlantic regions. Her experience with Helbling includes representing healthcare and higher education institutions, independent schools, corporations and general contractors in securing mid- to senior-level planning, design, construction, and facilities professionals. With nearly 20 years prior experience in journalism and management, she brings strong research, communication, and problem-solving skills to the executive search process.

Wendy holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from Ohio University, and an Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting from Cornell University. She is passionate about diversity in the workplace, and is currently serving on the planning committee for an upcoming Women in Construction conference in Washington, D.C.


As Regional Manager for New York City, Lee Grandovic performs client development within the metropolitan area and conducts executive searches from search strategy development through successful completion.  While his focus is in the New York City region, he also partners with other senior consultants on complex, high-level searches across the country that require multiple experienced consultants.

Lee joined Helbling in early 2012, and his experience includes representing hospitals, universities, corporations, non-profit organizations, real estate developers, construction managers, and general and specialty contractors. He currently resides in New York City, providing accessibility to current and prospective clients in the metropolitan area.

Lee is a graduate of Duquesne University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education. He volunteers for various charity foundations and enjoys golfing, fishing, and live music.

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