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Fatima Habib, Assistant project manager, Atkins


Assistant project manager

We take pride in what we do, and our people are constantly striving to succeed. We seek to excel, we challenge ourselves to be ever more innovative, and we reward our people for going above and beyond.

Fatima has grown within the company in the seven years she’s been here. From starting her career as a graduate to winning a Ministry of Labour award for her work, she has seen her hard work lead to real achievements.

“Atkins was a dream company for me. Based on its reputation and its portfolio of projects in the Middle East, I felt it was just the type of consultancy I wanted to work for. The recruitment process was  streamlined and professional from start to finish, and reassured me that this was the place for me.

My role as graduate civil engineer was my first since leaving university. I confess I was nervous when I started and struggled a little at first to settle in. But my mentor looked after me, guided me through the company processes and introduced me to everyone, which made me feel much more comfortable. Not to mention the party that was thrown for me as the 100th employee at the Bahrain office! My colleagues couldn’t have done more to make me feel welcome.

Soon I found myself out on site in a real construction environment. I learned quickly that building up a trusting relationship with the client is very important in the Arabic culture, and that takes time and effort. Getting to know the people that you work with and for really does pay off – it’s definitely true that you get out what you put in.

With very few women in the Bahrain office, I’ve had to carve out a place for myself in a male-dominated environment. On site, I’ve sometimes found that men can be quite sceptical about women’s abilities to carry out certain jobs, so it takes determination to break down those preconceptions. Back in 2007, I was the first Bahraini woman within the company to be promoted to assistant project manager, so I see that as a real achievement.

I feel I’ve grown so much in my seven years with Atkins – but the truth is that you never stop learning. There’s always a new challenge to take on board, always something else to strive for. And my hard work is definitely paying off. I was sponsored by Bahrain’s Ministry of Labour to undertake my MBA and recently won a Ministry award for employees whose sponsorship for higher studies enables them to gain promotion and develop their skills and performance at work. Not only was this was a real honour, I achieved my Atkins promotion at the same time. It means a lot to me to feel recognised for what I’ve put into my work.

I love the global feel Atkins has. There’s a real sense of pride and prestige in the work we do. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some of the company’s biggest projects in Bahrain – really iconic stuff – and it means a lot to know I was part of that. With the current economic climate being what it is, it’s a slightly anxious time, with a relatively reduced workforce in the region compared to when I started. But there’s a positive attitude here. Communication between individuals is great and managers take time to talk to people. I’m so grateful to be here and feel really valued in my role – I can’t wait to get stuck into new bids and see the business grow again.”

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