In a trading statement to the London Stock Exchange today, the group admitted: "The economic environment is difficult and will remain challenging."
Atkins' statement confirmed: "uncertainty in a number of markets, principally in our Middle East and UK building design businesses.
"As a result, we anticipate that in the second half of this financial year staff numbers across the Group will reduce by some 5%. We will continue to monitor changes in the market environment going forward and make adjustments to staffing levels where appropriate," read the statement.
Atkins employs some 18,800 staff, and had already announced job losses both in the UK, Middle East and Far East.
"Our UK building design business, which represents approximately 2% of the Group's revenue, has been severely impacted by general market conditions and the deferral of projects by the Learning and Skills Council. The results of this segment for the full year will therefore be adversely impacted by re-structuring costs," read the statement.
However, "Markets in the Design and Engineering Solutions segment continue to perform in line with our expectations."
The group says it is performing well in transportation, with framework agreements for Crossrail, and work to begin on the £5bn M25 PFI, which is awaiting financial close. "In the meantime, we have a team working on the design to ensure that the contractor can commence work on site as soon as practicable after the signing of the contract."
While work in the Middle East is beginning to dry up, work in Europe and China is: "making progress in line with our expectations, despite previously announced weakness in Ireland and Sweden."
Perhaps unsurprisingly in such a tight market, the Management and Project Services, cost consultants Faithful+Gould, and its Management Consultants business are all performing well.
The group said that the job cuts and restructuring would mean: "Overall expectations for the Group for the year to 31 March 2009 remain unchanged."
Atkins shares rose nearly 5% on the news before settling back to a 2.4% increase on the day in early trading.