The year ahead
Our outlook, strategy and approach to the market globally
Our refreshed Group Strategic Statement set out our business priorities for 2023, showing how we will target growth in key markets.
The starting point for our corporate strategy is our purpose, which sets our direction and is a key motivator for colleagues around the world. In 2023, we will be placing greater emphasis on excellence. We’ll take steps to raise the profile of our technical leaders, highlight more of our technical achievements and more explicitly recognise the enormous heritage of past achievements that today’s success is built upon.
Our detailed landscape review identified that the greatest growth potential is in our largest markets of the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand. While we remain committed to many other markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and others on a project basis, our specific plans for growth focus on these largest markets.
During 2022, the strategic landscape has been characterised by an unusual mix of high geopolitical volatility, inflation and rising interest rates, but with continuing strong markets and client demand.
Energy investment is likely to be resilient as the world seeks to move away from Russian gas while also taking steps towards decarbonisation.
Overall we continue to see a positive growth environment for 2023, but we need to be alert to change.
Transport investment continues to be evident, even though public transport use in cities has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. The aviation sector has rebounded strongly from the impact of COVID-19 but could come under pressure if the economic climate worsens. We need to be alert to change and especially the possibility of investment shifting from urban transit to other areas.
We see defence investment increasing substantially. Water investment remains resilient. In international development there’s a continuing trajectory towards sustainable, smart cities, decarbonisation and climate resilience.
Overall we see a positive growth environment for 2023. But we acknowledge that some degree of optionality has value during these uncertain times. In 2022 we undertook a futures exercise to explore plausible futures over a 10-year timeframe. This has already informed growth plans.
Strategic priorities for 2023
Key features of our detailed growth plans and priorities for our largest markets are:
In the UK, to build scale rapidly in the energy, defence and health sectors, as well as advisory services, and to anticipate a slower growth trajectory in water and transport, noting the need over time to replace current HS2 workload.
In North America, to focus strongly on rail, tunnels and pipelines.
In Australia and New Zealand, to build on metro successes in Sydney and Melbourne through involvement in transport programmes planned in other state capitals; and to grow an energy business based on the success of the Kidston and other pumped hydropower storage schemes; defence is also targeted.
In energy we seek a balanced portfolio and share of the estimated $5trn annual energy investment required by 2030 to support energy system decarbonisation, resilience and security. We plan to build and deploy scarce skills in energy, and remove bottlenecks to enable enhanced growth in existing and new market segments.
We are a successful, resilient, independent and purpose-driven business with ambitions for growth, facing good quality but volatile markets. Strategic activities for 2023 are designed to make us a sustainable, thriving and growing business, making a continuing positive impact for our clients and society across the world.
In 2023, we’ll be placing greater emphasis on excellence... we’ll take steps to raise the profile of our technical leaders and highlight more of our technical achievements.
Ian Galbraith, group strategy director