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Ramboll thriving in the Middle East

Ramboll is seeking to increase its Middle East workforce by up to 60 percent as a result of the renewed economic vibrancy in the region.

The company currently employs 550 people in its three main regional markets of the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the aspiration to grow to nearly 900 employees as a result of achieving success in its building, transport, environmental planning and liveable cities projects.

Ramboll, a design and engineering consultant, was founded in Denmark in 1945 by two engineers who established the company in the wake of the Second World War.  Very aware of the company's role in the development of society, the founders promoted awareness of the human dimension and left behind a legacy that emphasises high ethical standards, quality rather than quantity, economic stability, responsibility towards society, and satisfied employees. These are still the governing principles in Ramboll’s approach to business.

Yaver Abidi the Managing Director of Ramboll New Markets (a business unit responsible for the main business lines and country units outside of Ramboll’s home markets), said: “Basically we are looking to build the company up to scale where it can take on the kind of large and complex projects we are doing but also so we have the depth of resources and expertise to do even more. Our growth plan is not necessarily driven by the market as such, there is plenty of scope.

“There is plentiful work to do in Saudi Arabia, the UAE is going to go through significant construction activity leading up to the 2020 Expo in Dubai and of course Qatar we know has a lot of building activity to do leading up to the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The markets we are focused on are very much buoyant.

“Our challenge is to grow whilst retaining our values and continuing to focus on the right thing for our customers. We do want to grow, we want to get around 800-900 people to have a greater capability in all the sectors we serve. We are not setting out to be the biggest, our goal is continue to be Ramboll and what we stand for.”

Ramboll in the Middle East focuses on four of Ramboll’s six markets which are; Oil & Gas, Buildings, Transportation such as ports, aviation, and master planning, and Environment.

Ramboll initially came to the region to explore oil and gas opportunities in the late 1990sand built up the business by building a strong relationship with Maersk Oil, part of the diversified global conglomerate AP-Moller Maersk.  In 2006, Ramboll Middle East excelled from this point, partially through acquisitions, and has gone on to deliver on some of the region’s most iconic buildings, highly complex oil and gas projects, as well as transport infrastructure and environmental and master planning projects.

Regional expertise

Over the past decade, the Ramboll brand has grown in the Middle East to the extent where the company now has an enviable reputation as market experts in sustainable buildings and other environmentally efficient projects.

The Change Initiative front facade - image courtesy of TCI
Ferrari World
Fujairah Masterplan
The Change Initiative exterior - image courtesy of TCI
Jeddah Waterfront
Shining Towers
Shining Towers
U Bora Towers

Richard Beard, Managing Director of Ramboll Middle East, said, “In addition to our growth in Qatar and UAE we have also been successful in building business in Saudi Arabia. We are focusing on these three countries in the Middle East at the moment. We have done a lot of tall buildings in Dubai, and have developed a very good master planning unit where we plan communities’ and liveable cities, and completed major environmental master plans in in cities including Jeddah.

“In the environment field we have been members of the Emirates Green Building Council for some time now. For us at Ramboll, it is not all about shiny new builds either, we also focus on brownfield sites to improve them by making them more environmentally efficient.  A project we are particularly proud of is the Change Initiative in Al Barsha, Dubai, which achieved the highest sustainability rating in the world based on the LEED sustainability rating system from the USA.

Beard states it is really about sustainability by improving the community and existing infrastructure and that is what sets the company apart.

Future planning

Ramboll Middle East started a graduate program this year, and are offering internships. A majority of employees are currently expatriates, but both Abidi and Beard envisage that the graduate program will help grow the future talent for the company, particularly in Saudi Arabia where the high level of education will benefit the Saudisation government scheme.

Beard said: “The Middle East can be an expensive place to bring staff but it is key to keeping up to date and bringing people through the business. We are going to put a lot more energy into our graduate program next year to aid our growth. Retention is vital too, I think we will see more talent coming back to the Middle East due to the dynamic and fast paced environment.

In the future RME will continue to develop the the Fujairah 2040 framework plan for the UAE’s fifth largest emirate.  Fujairah has embarked on a plan for the comprehensive development of this important geographical area which it is the only emirate with a shore directly to the Indian Ocean independent of the Hormuz Strait.

Beard concluded: “We are not in this market to be the biggest Middle East consultant, but we want to be the leading consultant working on the sustainable projects in line with our company values. Our plans will continue to match the dynamism and growth in our geographical markets, working with key clients across the sectors.”

“We will also eventually look into other regional markets in the Middle East. We have enough experience to be able to tackle any of the markets that are likely to open up.”

Ramboll are set for an exciting growth phase, building on its market expertise within Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. It continues to look for outstanding people whose values align with the company’s and therefore would like any interested individuals to go visit its website.

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