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Comment | Celebrating the 100 best civils firms

Mark Hansford

Welcome to the NCE100; our selection of the top 100 civil engineering practices. Here you will read about some extraordinary engineers and engineering firms doing some extraordinary things.

These are the companies that we believe you will want to work for and work with. These are the companies which are moving the industry forward.

Above all else it isn’t a top 100 based on money earned, or staff employed. We’ve been there, done that, and don’t like it. This is our selection of the top 100 firms in civil engineering based on the cultures, competencies and skillsets that we at New Civil Engineer passionately believe matter most: technical excellence; pushing technology; being diverse and great and safe places to work; developing future-fit skills; and playing a role in tackling global issues.

Selecting our 100 has been a painstaking process that included an in-depth company survey, employee satisfaction survey and finally ratification by a dozen leading clients among a 30-strong judging panel (more on those in a short while). The company survey was tough and not all were willing to fill it in. An employee survey asked some challenging questions and it took a bold leap of faith in us for these 100 companies to even consider sharing it with you, their employees.

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So it’s robust. And the outcome – our NCE100 – is a fantastic collection of companies that are all great: great to work for, great to work with and great ambassadors for our profession. You’ll read about all of them here, and you’ll also see the firms that have made the top 10 in each of our five core competencies. It’s an interesting read.

And you’ll see our 100 is exactly what we wanted to see – a blend of firms of all shapes and sizes; a collection of enterprises that genuinely represents the great diversity of employer in civil engineering. 

This is our selection of the top 100 firms in civil engineering based on the cultures, competencies and skillsets that we at New Civil Engineer believe matter most

And what do we glean from this collection of greats to make you feel good? Well, collectively, the 100 firms earn £51bn a year and employ 392,000 staff. In the last year they recruited 19,000 staff in the UK and almost 45,000 worldwide. And there is an interesting diversity in the type of recruit: of these 19,000-plus new UK joiners, just under 2,500 were qualified civil engineers.

There are some great stories that have emerged through the process. And to bring those out we also invited the 100 companies to put themselves forward for specific awards: two for each of our five core themes – 10 awards in all. These were assessed by the judges. Written submissions were used to shortlist and then all candidates asked to present their capabilities to a selection of our judges. It’s fair to say the judges were quite often in awe at what was being presented. We really have got some great stories to tell.

We also wanted to recognise the firms that are showing the collaborative behaviours that we so want to see in a modern construction industry. So we also have awards for that, based on what our 100 firms say about each other – and their clients.

And finally we took on board our judges’ comments to ratify our top 10. A genuinely superb collection of companies which really do represent all that is great about our industry. Now, no chart is complete without a number one and our number one is our NCE 100 Company of the Year. Care to guess what it is? You may be surprised.

Will you agree? Will you disagree? In many ways it doesn’t matter. Because what we hope to do with the NCE 100 is no different to what we hope to do with New Civil Engineer – to inspire, to educate, to inform, to encourage and, above all else, to start a debate. Enjoy debating our NCE100.

Read it all here.

  • Mark Hansford is New Civil Engineer’s editor
  •, twitter @markhansford



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