Consultant Atkins has told UK engineers that their future is secure after revealing that it is to open a second design centre in India taking the headcount there to almost 1,400.
UK consultants have previously been accused of using India design centres to replace UK-based staff with lower paid overseas-based engineers.
But Atkins stressed that its new design centre, to open in Gurgaon near Delhi in April, is not intended to replace UK engineers.
“We are confident in the UK industry,” said a spokesman. “The new team in India will be a supportive design office, intended to provide additional design expertise and flexible support to other international teams. India gives us the resources to support the UK,” he said.
The new office will employ up to 375 people, complementing the 1,000 engineers already working in Atkins’ Bangalore centre which opened in 1998.
The firm said the India offices will support the UK business, which still has 1,000 vacancies. This is despite a recruitment drive which has seen headcount increase by 300 year on year to 9,169, according to Atkins half year results to 30 November 2012.
Engineers at the new office will work on projects in the water, transport and utilities sectors and will design structures, water pipelines, bridges and stations. They will also undertake and utilities asset management.
Atkins’ office opening was announced as part of a UK government trade mission to India led by prime minister David Cameron.