Hyder goes on UK hiring spree to meet Middle East demand

Concerns raised over a brain drain of resources and industrial talent from the United Kingdom as GCC demand is predicted to grow at 12.5% annually, over the next decade

Hyder, the 150 year old design consultancy, has announced that it plans to step up its recruitment drive as it gears up for increased business in the Middle East ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The consultancy plans to hire 500 new engineers, mostly from the UK, as it looks to get a head start on the competition by mopping up the best talent available in the job market, a Financial Times report has said.

With the British construction market under immense strain due to the financial crisis, building and engineering consultancies are forced to cut staff and cease hiring. As a result, firms with operations in the Middle East have increasingly begun to shift their focus there.

Hyder Consulting, which employs 4,000 staff across the globe, hopes to nab some of the best talent shed by UK, German and Irish firms and redeploy them in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Graham Reid, UK regional managing director.

He added that those two markets were the most promising in the GCC region as they were both in the midst of a major construction boom. The FTSE 250 company recently scored its largest project win in the region, a $124.6m contract to design roads and drainage in Qatar.

Having already been involved in projects like Burj Khalifa, the consultancy plans to target the likes of the new Doha Port, the new Doha International Airport, a $34bn railway network and a new water and sewage treatment works. All these projects must be up and running before the 2022 World Cup and Qatar is expected to announce the contracts for these projects by this autumn.

A study by Oxford Economics and Global Construction Perspectives has shown that the Qatari construction market is expected to grow by 12.5% a year, on average, over the next decade. In comparison, the European market is expected to average around 1.7% until 2020.

However, with British firms focusing their interests on the Middle East, concerns have been raised over whether the UK will suffer a skills shortage.

According to Semta, the UK’s sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, the next four years will see Britain needing to train 96,300 new engineers and scientists, mainly to replace those who retire, the Financial Times said.


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