Greg Ayres, PB’s managing director for Europe and Africa, explained "Our focus is on three key sectors – energy, transportation and communities (predominantly building and environment) – as well as expanding the services offered in key office locations. We look for engineers able to think outside the traditional "silo" mentality. Civil engineers have transferable skills, and we want to give people the opportunity of being able to expand their horizons."
In recent years the company has invested heavily in personal development, including leadership development, coaching and mentoring, and the "realising your potential" appraisal and review programme that matches people’s skills with opportunities available. Technical and management skills are valued equally, with parallel qualifications available for staff to attain PB-wide accreditation through the company’s global professional recognition programme. All staff can sign up to the 50 or so discipline-specific "practice area networks" that enable experts to share knowledge throughout the world.
There is a global exchange programme between PB’s UK and Australian operations, while more informal exchanges happen all the time. "There is a lot of opportunity to export yourself for a set period of time – two, three or four years– for a particular job," said Ayres.
PB’s career development programmes operate globally, and include international groups for staff with similar professional interests and a series of internal accreditation and recognition schemes for staff on different career paths, such as project managers and technical leaders.
Top 20 UK consultant
£935M global turnover
Over 12,000 staff worldwide
150 offices worldwide
Three operating divisions: communities, transportation, energy
A flexible benefits package allowing staff to tailor their benefits and giving staff up to 30 days holiday
Graduate engineering scheme
Global exchange programme between Europe/Africa and Australia, eligible to all employees
The Professional Growth Network (PGN) for emerging professionals in the early stages of their careers
Practice Area Networks (PANs) – a worldwide virtual network for sharing global skills and experience
Professional recognition programme – in-house training and certification for professional, technical, project management, business development and administrative staff
Graduate profile: Katerina Fytopoulou
Katerina comes from Greece but, following studying for her BEng in civil and structural engineering at Newcastle University, she settled in the North East. "When I graduated, I was keen to get out into the workplace", she recalled. "I knew that companies can make promises at recruitment that they do not always keep, and found that to be true with previous posts. When I moved to Parsons Brinckerhoff I found that it was the best thing I could have done."
Katerina joined PB’s Regereration and Development of Infrastructure department as a graduate engineer. "We looked at the reclamation and redevelopment of land and I learned a lot", she recalled. "I am now part of a team working on the new Tyne Tunnel, which is being constructed by French contractor Bouygues Travaux Public. This is an amazing project for a graduate engineer to be assigned to – the third largest civil engineering project in the country and one of the biggest tunnels under a river.
When I came to PB for my interview the project was at tender stage and I was promised a role on the tunnel if the bid was successful – so my interview promise has been met and my expectations were well and truly exceeded. This has been a fantastic challenge for me. We are part of a consortium and I am working alongside lots of different experts who have come from all over the world. I work next to the site, as part of a team gathering information from all designers and contractors and preparing the documentation necessary to get the relevant planning approvals. I am getting very broad experience of the entire project, and not just focusing on one particular area".
"PB has been really good to me – this is a great place to work. The company is sponsoring me to go back to University part-time to take a Masters in project management."