Siobhan Savage

30 July 2012 – Engineering consultancy WSP was recently spending so much money on recruitment that it hired its own inhouse recruiter.

Siobhan Savage joined the company in April after a year with Talent2, a former role with Robert Walters and nearly 10 years in the recruitment industry. Since then she has already recruited about 20 people, in Australia and Asia.

Savage is happy to explain that her move is part of WSP’s global growth strategy, especially for the Asia Pacific region. Globally the company has about 10,000 employees.

The move is at odds with many other parts of the building and construction industry which is licking its wounds after a round of company failures.

“Everyone knows the story: it’s not booming in building services. We’re doing strategic hires only in that area.”

But in WSP’s infrastructure and transport planning area, not to mention mining, it’s another story.

WSP recently hired Randy Akroush as general manager infrastructure, based in WA and another recruit to be transport planning manager for Australia whose name is still under wraps for now.

These are new areas for the group and Savage plans to build on the teams as project contracts are confirmed.

“It’s project dependent. If we win contracts we will have to hire aggressively. If we get good people we will take them; we’re starting to pipeline these good people in the market.”

Reinhard Germer

Another area she has recently hired in is for the Vision Design team with architects Reinhard Germer appointed to head up the team. Germer’s background includes with Speirs & Major in London, Kardorff Ingenieure in Berlin and most recently with the engineering consultancy Meinhardt in its Light Art department.

Fiona Venn has also been hired for the Vision Design team after 10 years of international lighting design experience in Tokyo, London and Sydney

A senior electrical engineer has also been recently appointed in the Cairns office to “support our growth strategy.”

Another good/bad area is Asia, because there is considerable demand for building services skills but very few qualified people to fill positions.

“There is a shortage of candidates in Asia,” Savage said.

“Obviously our Asia business has been consistently growing; I look after that remit as well in Malaysia, Singapore and Bangkok.

“Certainly there are some areas softer than others, but in going forward, the Asia Pacific as a whole is strong.

“Obviously transport and infrastructure and mining, with our joint venture company TWSP are also strong.”

There might be media reports that the mining sector could be slowing, but Savage says TWSP is still “actively recruiting.”