International engineering consultant cites 'challenging' market conditions as 1,000 redundancies planned

Engineering consultant Atkins will cut 5% of its global workforce as a result of what it called “difficult and challenging” market conditions.

The move will affect about 1,000 staff from the £1.3bn-turnover company's workforce of 18,600.

The figure includes previously announced cuts of 260 UK jobs and 210 in the Middle East.

In a trading update for the period from 1 October 2008 to date, the firm said: “We have been affected by the uncertainty in a number of markets, principally in our Middle East and UK building design businesses. We will continue to monitor changes in the market environment going forward and make adjustments to staffing levels where appropriate.”

In the UK, Atkins said its building design business, which represents about 2% of turnover, has been hit by the deferral of projects by the Learning and Skills Council.

It described the outlook in the Middle East as “uncertain” and said it would redeploy staff within the region as a result of the downturn.

Despite the job cuts, it said its performance over the period had been in line with expectations and that its financial position, including cash generation, was good. It highlighted solid performances at its rail and highways and transportation businesses.

The company added: “The economic environment is difficult and will remain challenging, but we continue to have confidence in the underlying strength of our business. Our overall expectations for the group for the year to 31 March 2009 remain unchanged, having taken account of anticipated restructuring costs.”