Buoyed by huge infrastructure projects such as Riyadh Metro, American construction consultancy Parsons plans to grow its 1,300-strong workforce in Saudi Arabia to 1,800, a senior company official told Construction Week.
The technology-driven firm is hiring approximately 50 new staff every mont and will create hundreds of jobs after forming a new engineering division in 2018.
Up to 500 people could be recruited by Parsons in the next eight months to support the sustainable development of infrastructure, housing, and smart city construction, underpinned by the kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy.
In addition to Riyadh Metro, Parsons' Saudi Arabia portfolio includes King Abdullah Financial District and projects with Saudi Aramco, and as the firm continues to win work in Saudi, its number one objective is ramping up recruitment.
Ken Murray, managing director for Parsons Saudi Arabia, told Construction Week that the consultancy is not only mobilising manpower, but reinforcing retention strategies as well.
“My plan between now and the end of the year is to grow to 1,800 people. So far, we’re mobilising about 50 people per month,” he said.
“The other thing that we’ve been successful at, which has been really nice, is that our retention rate has skyrocketed and our turnover rate is below 5%.”
While he admitted the biggest “challenge” remains recruiting the right staff, finding people willing to move to Saudi Arabia is easier than it used to be for construction companies.
“Our sales pipeline is very strong, so people look at that,” he added. “One of the things that we’ve done a pretty good job at is moving people from job to job. We focus on it a lot – and it’s great for the employees and for retention.
“We have good clients; they’re demanding and they want what they pay for, but they are getting more and more organised, they pay their bill [on time]. The Saudi client base wants to get value for money and they’re willing to pay for it.”
Project management consultancy and construction supervision teams are among those that Parsons plans to bulk up, and staff will be mobilised across the company’s corporate offices in the kingdom, as well as dozens of site hubs.
One of Parsons' biggest megaprojects is in Yanbu, near the Red Sea, where it has been embedded since 1976. Working alongside the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu, Parsons has played an integral role in masterplanning and managing the infrastructure and construction of the city.
It recently secured a five-year extension on its contract in Yanbu, which came into effect in March 2019.