Consultant to shed 10% of workforce as Turner & Townsend begins first wave of redundancies

EC Harris is to cut up to 10% of its 3,800-strong global workforce.

The move comes after a recent redeployment of 500 staff around the globe in an attempt to combat the effects of the recession.

David Sparrow, head of client solutions, said: “The cuts will happen across the organisation, not in one particular area. It’s a painful decision, but in this market it’s hard to tell what will happen next.”

He said a consultation process was under way and the job losses would be phased over the rest of this year.

Despite the cuts, Sparrow said the company was on track to increase turnover from £267m to £400m by 2011.

It’s a painful decision, but in this market it’s hard to tell what will happen next

David Sparrow, EC Harris

He said the company was looking to make acquisitions, although no deal was imminent. “Some companies are pitching for work at suicidal levels. In a few months, when they realise they’ve got themselves into an untenable situation, I expect some will be looking for help.”

The consultant recently announced plans to reduce its reliance on fee income and boost revenue from profit-sharingdeals with clients.

Meanwhile, rival consultant Turner & Townsend revealed it would make redundancies this week. It is understood that 32 staff will go, though the company refused to confirm numbers. The news is the first sign that the company is suffering similar problems to its peers, many of which have already been through two rounds of staff cuts.

The engineering sector also suffered losses last week. Hyder Consulting revealed plans to reduce its 5,000-strong global workforce by 8% and said it would close some of its smaller UK offices.

The firm said delays in government spending on infrastructure and a lower property sector workload had hit its UK and Australian businesses.