Wanted: Senior consultancy talent for Middle East expansion

19 June 2013

There may be billions worth of projects in the Gulf but instead of going head to head with Asian contractors on price, Costain is aiming higher up the value chain with consultancy services. Now it needs the senior talent to do it. Rod Sweet reports.

Costain is looking for experienced people to fill senior consultancy roles in the Gulf to boost its project and programme management consultancy offering in the region.

Tim Bowen, Costain’s regional development director, moved to the Middle East late last year with the task of expanding the company’s range of services in the Gulf states.

While there is plenty of work available – Costain says that in 2013 alone, infrastructure and development projects worth over $350 billion are planned across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – the company says it will be choosy about what it bids for.

It says it hopes to grow in consultancy, providing engineering or integrated consulting and operations and maintenance services.

High-rise construction in Doha. Qatar plans to invest $200 billion in infrastructure development over the next 10 years. (Credit: Amjra)

"We’re not looking for construction contracts," Mr Bowen said, "even though there has been no shortage of opportunity in that regard.

"I’m here in the Gulf to develop the Costain advisory proposition and present our considerable expertise, systems, processes and people to clients here."

He said Costain can deliver major infrastructure projects, "but at this time, the price point competition from some Asian contractors mean that there’s no point wasting our valuable bidding resources when there are many commercially preferable opportunities in professional services."

"But," he added, "our biggest constraint is the availability of professionally qualified, experienced people, i.e. those at the most senior level, because these projects are vast and will include working at the cutting edge of engineering technology."

Qatar in particular, preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, presents enormous opportunities, Costain said.

Contracts are now starting to be awarded as Qatar plans to invest $200 billion in infrastructure development over the next 10 years, with over $100 billion expected to come in the next five years.

The projects include new roads, highways, bridges, airport, a new seaport, and a new rail and metro system.

"Costain has a rich history of engineering excellence but we need to reconsider our market positioning and the manner in which we fulfil those opportunities," Mr Bowen said. "Part of the solution is for us to go to the market, recruit and bring capacity into the business."

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