What it does: Professional services
Staff stats: Around 10,000
The good bits: Flexible working options
The not so good bits: Pay could be higher
The GHD story
In 1928 a consulting engineer who specialised in water and sewage projects opened a private practice in Melbourne. That engineer, Alan Gutteridge, subsequently invited Gerald Haskins and Geoffrey Davey to join forces with him. Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey, later shortened to GHD, came into being.
WWII was a mixed blessing for the partnership – many staff enlisted but there were also plenty of defence contracts won. After the war, the business really took off. It expanded into transportation, manufacturing plants, building and civil works, energy, mining and dams. Australians can thank GHD for everything from the provision of sewage systems and potable water throughout Tasmania, to much of the rebuilding of Darwin after Cyclone Tracey, to the design of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, to the desalination plants in major cities that will provide water in the event of a severe drought.
GHD‘s global expansion began in the 1970s with a joint venture in Malaysia. Since that time, the firm has established a presence in New Zealand, the UK, the US, Canada, Chile, the Middle East and China. Over the last nine decades, GHD has expanded both through strong organic growth and frequent mergers and acquisitions.
GHD now operates in the global markets of water, energy, resources, environment, property, buildings and transportation. It currently provides architecture, engineering, environmental and construction services to a range of private and public-sector clients all across the world. Thousands of architects, economists, engineers, project managers and environmental scientists are employed at over 200 GHD offices spread across five continents and 10 countries.
GHD is an employee-owned business.
GHD is an equal opportunities employer. It hires without regard to an individual's race, colour, religion, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age or national origin.
GHD champions “gender equality, cultural diversity, LGBTI inclusion, adapting to the needs of generational workers [and] reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.
The firm has won a trophy cabinet full of awards for diversity, LGBTI inclusion and gender equity. But although GHD skews less male than many of its competitors, women still make up less than a third of its workforce.
GHD is committed to sustainable development. It aspires to improve the physical, natural and social environments of the communities in which it operates. The firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, GHD in the Community, is designed to produce positive social and environmental impacts. This program sponsors or otherwise supports organisations including Engineers Without Borders around the world, many Indigenous organisations including the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation and Habitat for Humanity.
The recruitment process
As a diverse business with more than 70 different service lines, GHD recruits grads from many disciplines. The firm aims to hire people who will embrace its values of safety, teamwork, respect and integrity.
The recruitment process appears to involve making an online application then attending an interview. If you want to make it to the interview stage, you’ll need to submit a strong cover letter. One that, along with all the standard information, outlines how your skills match the grad role on offer and how your “unique contribution of attributes” can add value to GHD. If you are invited to an interview, make sure you convey what you’re hoping to get out of working at GHD, what skills and passion you bring to the table and how your academic qualifications, as well as your life and work experience, make you a natural fit for both the firm and the role you are applying for.
GHD’s two-year grad program takes an integrated, holistic approach to developing future leaders and technical specialists. It assists grads develop “decision-making, communication, technical and critical leadership skills”. The program includes coaching and mentoring, talent exchanges, e-learning modules, opportunities for self-study, structured workshops and courses. GHD adheres to the 70/20/10 framework for professional development: 70 per cent on-the-job learning, 20 per cent coaching, mentoring and self-study and 10 per cent formal learning.
GHD is an employee-owned business, which means the better the firm does, the better it’s employee shareholders do. Grad salaries vary but it appears most grads start on a salary of $60,000 - $70,000 and most have the opportunity to crack six figures within a few years.
As part of its efforts to create a more diverse workforce, GHD has introduced flexible working arrangements, as well as generous maternity and paternity leave. It appears the firm offers the standard benefits such as subsidised insurance and gym memberships and a well-stocked office kitchen.
Over time, staff may be offered the opportunity to buy shares in the firm but need to sell them when they leave.
Given the size of GHD and the scope of its operations, there are plenty of opportunities for strong performers to advance rapidly. GHD encourages staff to attain professional accreditation in their discipline. It also provides them with access to the GHD Business School. This provides “diverse learning opportunities” that allow GHD staff to “acquire the experience and knowledge you need to be a truly effective member of our team”.
Grads participate in GHD’s Young Professionals Group, which “mixes learning and global networking across a wide range of social, community and professional development activities”.
Like all GHD staff, grads are encouraged to make use of their Career Pathways tool. This supports and guides employees to develop an impressive portfolio of skills and experiences, so they are well positioned to advance their careers.
The vibe of the place
Like most professional service firms, GHD drives its staff hard but rewards them handsomely for their efforts. GHD has a genuine commitment to diversity and, in particular, creating a more female-friendly workplace. At GHD, you’ll have the opportunity to work on a range of projects and travel across Australia and potentially around the world.
Star Rating: 4.1 out of 5
From the employers:
"GHD is one of the world's leading professional services companies operating in the global markets of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, and transportation.
Established in 1928 and privately owned by our people, GHD operates across five continents - Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America - and the Pacific region. We employ more than 10000 people across our globally connected network to deliver projects with high standards of safety,qualityand ethics across the entire asset value chain. Driven by a client-service led culture, we connect the knowledge, skill and experience of our people with innovative practices, technical capabilities and robust systems to create lasting community benefits.
Committed to sustainable development, GHD improves the physical, natural and social environments of the many communities in which we operate. We are guided by our workplace health, safety,qualityand environmental management systems.
In alignment with the global demands of water, energy,urbanisation and digital transformation, our aim is to exceed the expectations of our clients and contribute to their success.
Our Graduate Program
As a Graduate, you will learn how to transform complex challenges into imaginative solutions.
The GHD Graduate Development Program is an integrated, holistic approach to developing future leaders and technical specialists. Over the two-year program, you will learn about our business and our values, your team and most importantly, yourself. You will develop your decision-making, communication, technical and critical leadership skills, access personal mentoring, and participate in a variety of development activities. Alongside invaluable on-the-job experience is the chance to build networks that will last a lifetime.
It is a structured, balanced development program with a blend of experience and exposure across GHD designed to develop your skillsets and keep you constantly challenged.
The program highlights are:
- An intensive, informative and fun induction and orientation session
- Formal and informal learning opportunities
- Regular coaching and feedback
- Various opportunities to build your network within the business
- The opportunity to participate in our mentoring program
- A variety of assignments through different groups, projects and locations
- Involvement in local community projects
- The creation of your own graduate peer community
- Preparation for attaining professional accreditation.
GHD uses a variety of ways to build your skillset and knowledge including: coaching and mentoring, talent exchanges, e-learning modules, opportunities for self-study, structured workshops and courses and through our Career Pathways program.
Career Pathways is our global approach to career planning at GHD which encourages you to develop a portfolio of skills and experiences, providing the capability for a variety of future roles.
On thejob learning includes exposure to a variety of projects, disciplines, and regional locations. This will provide you the opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of different people.
The GHD Business School is the branded name for learning and development within GHD. The GHD Business School provides diverse learning opportunities for you to acquire the experience and knowledge you need to be a truly effective member of our team and to strengthen our global network.
Diversity and Inclusion
At GHD, we support, encourage and empower our people by providing an environment where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
GHD's commitment to diversity and inclusion is embodied within our global strategy and includes: championing gender equality, cultural diversity, LGBTI inclusion, adapting to the needs of generational workers, Reconciliation with Firstpeoples as well as flexible working arrangements for our people. Our actions in many regions continue to position us as an industry leader.
We want our people to feel comfortable to share all aspects of themselves at work. Our commitmenttowards 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. "