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It’s a good time to be an engineer

Britain’s biggest employer of civil engineers, Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke, has told NCE that now is a good time to be an engineer.

Speaking after his company posted strong half year results with revenues, profits and staff numbers all up, Clarke said there were good opportunities to be had in the next six to 12 months.

“There are good careers to be had and good projects to be involved in. We are not in a boom, but the technical challenges are going to get harder, which is good for a company like us.”

Clarke said business secretary Lord Mandelson was “dead right” when telling the CBI last week that now is a good time to be an engineer. “It is about the next industrial revolution and the low-carbon or post-carbon technologies that will define the 21st century. If you really want to change the world, choose a career in engineering,” said Mandelson.

Atkins’ revenue for the six months ending 30 September was up 12% at £710.8M and profit up 20% (at £48.2M) on the same period last year. Staff numbers at 30 September were 18,322, up 8% on 16,909 last year.

Clarke said staff numbers were unlikely to increase as much as in the last six months, but that recruitment was continuing. Recruitment, he said, was likely to focus on specialist skills. “We have been hiring building physicists into the Middle East for carbon reduction, and have just bought MG Bennett and Associates for their nuclear expertise.”

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