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Insights What is the future of structural engineering in the Middle East?

In the Middle East, the construction industry is booming, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. The rise of mega projects in the region is paving way for exciting career opportunities for both graduate and professional engineers from around the world, inspiring them to use technology to drive innovation and sustainability. Structural engineers from around the world, for example, are being drawn in by the prospect of working on these large and complex projects.

Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, is a provider of multi-disciplinary technical services to the built environment in the Middle East, with offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. We are committed to delivering first-class solutions which incorporate sustainability, innovation, design excellence and best practice, all whilst ensuring the safety of our colleagues. Continue reading to find out how you can build your structural engineering career in the Middle East.

This is an image of some building materials on top of some construction plans.

Large and complex projects

We are seeing some of the most vast and forward-thinking schemes being built on a scale not previously seen before. Neom, in north-western Saudi Arabia, for example, will be the first ‘cognitive city where world-class technology is fuelled with data and intelligence to interact seamlessly with its population’. It will establish a new model for urban sustainability powered solely by renewable energy, built for people rather than cars and designed with convenience and walkability in mind.

Six Flags Qiddiya in Riyadh is another mega project on the horizon. In October 2020, Atkins successfully obtained the lead design consultant services contract for the theme park development. Our team of pioneering structural engineers and designers will work to deliver the project which will feature several attractions, including The Falcon’s Flight, the longest, tallest, and fastest roller coaster in the world. The team will collaborate with architects, builders and other engineers to ensure design solutions are safe, sustainable, commercially efficient and low risk.

Another exciting project is the award-winning Five Jumeirah Village. Atkins were appointed to provide multi-disciplinary design services on this development, including concept and schematic design, environmental impact assessment, design development and construction documentation. It is a completely unique project, and Atkins delivered a one-of-a-kind rotating design by employing innovative architecture and structural engineering to maximize natural daylight and create welcoming spaces that conserve energy and incorporate both indoor and outdoor space.

Sustainable solutions

The International Energy Agency states that the construction sector accounts for 36 per cent of worldwide energy demand and 40 per cent of the global energy and process-related emissions. We know there is an urgent need for change in order to reverse the consequences of the rising climate and achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone. People, businesses, and countries must therefore modify traditional construction practices to ensure sustainable initiatives are utilised.

According to the World Economic Forum, GCC governments have expedited investments in renewables including solar and waste-to-energy. Their analysis explains that, within the region, many entrants to the markets ensure that their businesses lend themselves to sustainable development strategies. In 2019, for instance, Saudi Arabia launched a $28 billion renewable energy funding initiative to become less dependent on crude oil and move towards more diversified energy sources, including nuclear and wind power.

Lusail City, an anticipated mega project, was the first development in Qatar to endorse the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS), a performance-based system developed for the creation of a sustainable built environment that both minimises ecological impact and preserves the values, traditions and identity of the region.

At AtkinsRéalis , we weave sustainability into everything we do. On the Emirates Aluminium Smelter Complex (EMAL) project in Abu Dhabi, for example, we established the UAE’s first carbon contaminated soil treatment facility. Our environmental team restored more than 180 tonnes of polluted soil, which they reused in laydown areas and roads.


The booming construction industry in the Middle East is opening doors for intelligent structural engineers who can apply innovation and ensure schemes are delivered with design excellence, sustainability and people in mind. Structural engineers are responsible for designing the strength and stability of buildings and infrastructure, and use innovation to ensure they are safe to use and can withstand all weather types and natural disasters. The Middle East is an ideal place to develop a career in structural engineering because of the varied pipeline of work which is generating opportunities to be creative and explore new technologies and innovation.

We consider an innovative sector to be one that takes risks, continuously improves, and evolves. At AtkinsRéalis , our people push the limits to achieve greatness and, with their unique perspectives, break down the barriers to innovation every day. We like to empower our people to constantly learn, experiment with new ideas and see how they work in practice.

Develop your structural engineering career in the Middle East

Within AtkinsRéalis , we have a diverse skill set and extensive experience delivering mega projects around the world, including Landmark 81 in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the world’s top 10 skyscrapers in 2019.

For us, the Middle East represents a significant growth opportunity for our diversified engineering and design service offering, and we’re excited about where our future is heading. Browse our available structural engineering jobs and help us lead the way.