Our people and the community

Empowering our people

Empowering our people

GHD's employee owned status is a powerful point of differentiation and helps drive our passion and accountability in how we serve our clients, deliver projects, and pursue new opportunities.

Our employee numbers have grown by more than 11 percent in FY2018, with more than 2500 people joining our business globally. In line with our workforce renewal targets, we also achieved a record for graduate recruitment, with 475 people accepting graduate roles globally. The percentage of female graduates, as a proportion of total graduates, has also increased steadily over the past seven years.

Importantly, this growth has been matched by strong employee engagement levels at 76 percent, up 6 percent from the previous engagement survey and also above the global IBM benchmark of 73 percent. These figures show that GHD is a place for aspiring people to thrive, achieve their career goals, and make a lasting impact.

Embracing diversity of thought, background and experience helps us develop imaginative and responsive solutions for our clients that create lasting community benefit.

GHD’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion also includes a number of different region-specific initiatives around the world.

Technical conference

During 2018, we hosted more than 300 GHD people at technical conferences around the world, where global representatives of technical communities of practice came together to exchange best practices across our wide range of services. These included:

  • Connecting GHD’s Approach to Project Management, Construction, Risk and Buildings, February 2018, Vancouver, Canada
  • Accelerating our transformation – Leveraging Data and Modelling in our built environment, June 2018, Brisbane, Australia
  • Innovative transportation in a technology driven world, September 2018, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Build to last: innovative infrastructure, November 2018, Perth, Australia

This unique professional development model is delivered through a series of technical conferences that foster a connected global network, imaginative thinking as well as ensure GHD is closer to our goal of being a leader in client service excellence.

Leadership training and development

Our model of Principals and Associates makes us attractive to people who want to be invested career-wise, financially and emotionally in the business, be accountable for their performance and inspire excellence in others.

Our approach to career planning at GHD encourages the development of a portfolio of skills and experiences, providing the capability for a variety of future roles. GHD works globally to one-team mindset and a change agile organisational culture that aims to unleash the energy of each of our employees,

Learning and development at GHD encompasses a wide range of activities designed to improve the following four areas of business capability:

  • Leadership and management development
  • Technical capability and project delivery skills
  • Clients and business development skills
  • Safety and project systems compliance

GHD in Chile

Connecting talent across the globe

Yasmin Hussein

Yasmin Hussein

Yasmin Hussein has travelled from Doha, Qatar to Townsville, Australia to be part of our TalentX program which is a short-term international assignment opportunity for early career professionals, created to help develop broad skills and capability across our global business.

Yasmin cites the cultural knowledge transfer as well as the technical learnings as the key business benefits to come from her experience to date. Fostering mobility opportunities like Yasmin’s is a key part of GHD’s strategic objective to operate as a globally connected network.

Brian Webster

Brian Webster

Brian Webster moved from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, to lead our business in Australia’s Northern Territory.

With extensive experience across the United States, Brian previously led the strategic growth and development of GHD’s services for the oil and gas and petrochemical markets in North America.

"My wife, Jill, and I are pleased to be in the Territory. We have traded the mountain lifestyle for the tropics and we are trying to learn Aussie slang and sayings,” Brian says.

"I have found that the GHD sense of family extends around the world and outside our doors, to include our clients, industry partners and the community."

Paula Salinas

Paula Salinas

Structural engineer Paula Salinas relocated from GHD’s office in Santiago, Chile, to Auckland, New Zealand, where she is applying her experience in ports and maritime structures, and seismic assessments to projects around the ‘Shaky Isles’.

"Since moving to Auckland, it has been an experience of personal and professional growth," she says.

"Change was difficult at the beginning, but I have been able to meet many good colleagues who have helped me become a better engineer. Since moving to New Zealand, I have fallen in love with this country and with a Kiwi too."

Chris Hertle

Chris has relocated from Brisbane, Australia to Irvine, California in October as our new Water Market Sector Leader – USA. He was previously Water Market Leader for Australia, and is a chemical engineer with more than 30 years’ experience.

"This is an exciting time for GHD as we step up to really grow our water business in the US and Canada, building on our strong footprint in the Northeast and pursuing opportunities on the West Coast and in Florida. We are also improving collaboration across North America and globally, developing standardised design procedures, and working closely with our Advisory and Digital teams to open the door to new clients," Chris says.

"The move has been a challenge on a personal level, which I could not have done without the support of my wonderful wife Catherine."

Katja De Guzman

Katja De Guzman

With experience spanning environmental impact assessment and approvals, contamination and hazardous materials assessment, climate change, and marine ecology, Katja de Guzman relocated from GHD’s Manila office to Nottingham, UK.

The move has further extended our environmental capabilities in the UK, while providing opportunities for Katja to work on a wide range of projects, from oil and gas developments in the North Sea to remediation of former industrial sites.

Highlighting the personal benefits of saying yes to global opportunities, Katja comments, “Living in England for the past year has brought wonder and adventure for me: my very first white Christmas, British road trips, and visits to the Continent. I have also finished my first dragonboat racing season with my newfound team and family, the Notts Anaconda Dragonboat Club.”

David Kinniburgh

David Kinniburgh has moved from Sydney, Australia to London, United Kingdom, to lead our transportation business across the northern hemisphere.

To propel growth in this global market, David will strengthen collaboration across the GHD network and build on GHD’s extensive experience on all types of transport projects in Australia.

For the last five years, David was leading the strategic growth of our transportation business in Australia, helping GHD secure roles on most major projects across the country.

This is David’s third relocation with GHD, each one to take on a new challenge, which he has found extremely rewarding. David, his wife Jane and daughter Claire are now reunited with their eldest daughter Hannah who has been studying at university in the UK.

Diversity and inclusion

At GHD, we want our people to feel comfortable to share all aspects of themselves at work. Our commitment toward diversity in the workplace is driven by a strong conviction that genuine inclusion will deliver greater productivity, creativity, and diversity from deeper pools of talent and through fairer processes for all.

Our people are as diverse as the communities we serve across five continents. Embracing diversity of thought, background and experience helps us develop imaginative and responsive solutions for our clients that create lasting community benefit.

GHD’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is embodied within our global strategy and includes: championing gender equality, cultural diversity, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, adapting to the needs of generational workers as well as flexible working arrangements for our people. Our regionally specific actions continue to position us as an industry leader.

Our people in the community

Engineers without Border in New Zealand

Engineers Without Borders in NZ

As a Gold sponsor of the Engineers Without Borders in New Zealand, GHD showcased our work around improving water security in the Pa Enua (Outer Islands) of the Cook Islands. Engineers worked with local government both in Rarotonga and the Pa Enua to provide technical advice, develop plans and design infrastructure to meet the needs of communities and provide them with a resilient source for their water supply.

Projects ranged from the development of water galleries in Aitutaki, to options for repairing concrete water tanks in Mauke, to designing a new water intake in Mangaia. Development of water supply master plans, writing technical standards and providing training material for local staff have also been a focus.

GHD Challenge

GHD Challenge UK

In September 2018, 80 construction and engineering professionals came together in the Lake District to raise an incredible GBP18,500 for five UK charities; Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Candlelighters Trust, Manchester Mind, and Purple Warriors. Over the course of three days, teams competed against each other in a series of mental and physical trials across fell, forest and water in England’s biggest national park.

Professional formalities were set to one side and hierarchies forgotten as the teams tackled what is widely regarded as one of the toughest, but most enjoyable, construction industry challenges. Established by GHD in 1997 as part of a combined team building and community outreach program, the biennial challenge has now raised a total of GBP193,500 for UK charities.

Fostering curiosity in the next generation

Building better lives and shelters

The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) represents the Aboriginal people of the homelands and outstations in an area of West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. GHD partnered with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to provide the BAC with recommendations on the repair and refurbishment of six shelters BAC built approximately 20 years ago in Darwin.

Through continued discussions and communication with BAC and EWB, GHD was able to gain a good understanding of the challenges being faced, which allowed GHD to successfully carry out a visual structural assessment of the shelters. Making the shelters habitable means the 300-600 homeland residents can make more reasonable choices between accessing services that they need, while still maintaining their important connection to country.

Volunteering for veterans<

Volunteering for veterans

A passionate team from GHD’s Cameron Park and Roseville offices in California volunteered with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity for their first-ever Veterans Build, an initiative focused on providing homeownership to US veterans, military service members, and their families.

Our GHD people worked on a house being built for the Wirth family. Mark Wirth served 6 years in the US Air Force, and he and his wife, Emily, are now working, pursuing nursing degrees, and raising their two young children, Natalie and Troy. They are also contributing 500 hours of sweat equity to help build their home and were there working on the day that the GHD team participated.

The GHD team got to work alongside the Wirth family and helped with a wide range of tasks, including painting, backfilling the watermain trench to the house, putting up siding, attaching trim boards, and cutting brush.

Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build also includes programming to help facilitate the transition from military service to civilian life, which includes financial education and financial literacy programs, volunteer and community engagement experiences, and employment opportunities.

GHD Challenge

Fostering career choices for women

Partnering with Lendlease in Australia, GHD has established a program designed to directly address the gender imbalance within Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)-based industries, in which only 23.3 per cent of employees are female. Eleven Year 10 female students from two Melbourne high schools took part in a simulated project over the course of a week, working closely with GHD mentors where the students acted as architects, engineers, project managers, urban designers and environmental scientists.

The program is targeted at avoiding a looming skills shortage within the engineering, design and construction industry. It is based on the principle that positive role models and encouragement can have a significant impact on teenagers’ subject and career choices.

STEM students

Fostering curiosity in the next generation

GHD people all across the world continue to advocate STEM careers, breaking down barriers and talking to children and young people about engineering. We volunteer at local schools to bring STEM subjects to life and demonstrate their value in future occupations. In the UK, our people are working with universities around the country, providing mentoring, workshops and work placement opportunities to pass on knowledge and experience to the next generation of engineers and scientists.