Our People

At Royal HaskoningDHV we aspire to be the best. This is accompanied by the desire to be an employer of choice for diverse talents, and to support our people in unlocking their full potential. In this way, we can make a difference and enhance society, now and in the future. We value talent in all its diversity because we believe diversity of thought leads to better results. We care deeply about our people who are the leading attribute in our success.

Unlocking our full potential

Our strategy provides a clear view of what we want to achieve. Our people are the enablers of the strategy and each individual can make a difference, bringing together diverse perspectives. In 2021, we launched the company-wide People & Culture Programme Unlocking our full Potential, to guide, support and encourage our leaders, our teams, and every employee to help our company become even stronger and more successful. It involves a continuous journey for all of us to create a growth mindset, build our change resilience, and transform our company. As we do so, our working environment will become more attractive, and we will increase our clients’ satisfaction, our market position and our financial performance.
In 2021, 70% of all managers participated in a bootcamp to understand the programme and how they can lead by example. More than 25% of all employees participated in team workshops to understand their upward potential resulting in even better collaboration.

Future Leaders 

To realise the leadership potential of our emerging talents, in 2021 we launched our Future Leaders Journey. It involves the development of future line managers, project managers, leading professionals, commercial directors and more. The programme is for professionals with approximately 3-8 years of working experience and the ability, engagement, and aspiration to grow into future leading roles. This will ensure our leadership pipeline is equipped for future strategic perspectives, and that we retain and motivate future leaders through targeted development opportunities. The programme involves sessions around leadership development, business and people skills, personal development, and our company’s strategy.
In 2021, 48 talents started in the Future Leaders programme, which features in the best practices of the G20 Empower Women to Lead. The group of Future Leaders is diverse: 42% are female and 12 nationalities are represented in five countries.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

At Royal HaskoningDHV, we believe in our people and aim to unlock their potential as individuals and as teams. Diversity is not a goal, but rather, a way to reach our goals. Having diversity of thought and bringing different perspectives to the table is important in creating an accomplished, successful, and sustainable business.


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We used International Women’s Day in March 2021 to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality. 

We are committed to providing an enriching working environment for all, which allows individual skills, strengths, and perspectives to be heard, used, and amplified, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, or nationality.

We are also committed to decreasing the gender pay gap and are proud of the progress we have made so far towards greater gender pay equality. For the UK the reporting of the gender pay gap is available in our UK Gender Pay Gap Report which reflects our progress. We will continue to build on this for the UK and for our company in general.

Overall, we have improved awareness and encouraged open conversations around various equality, diversity and inclusion topics by putting ED&I as a standing agenda item in all company-wide, management team and team meetings. Our directors and managers regularly address important issues in their communication with the business throughout the year and welcome direct feedback from colleagues on issues of concern or areas of improvement. Executive sponsors and allies drive impact throughout our business, striving towards progress and change to ensure inclusivity towards all employees. The Speak Up Awareness Day we held in November 2021 supported our drive for a collaborative, equal environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their true selves to work. We also partnered with Refugee Talent Hub in the Netherlands aiming to meet potential employees and grow our diversity. Initial speed dates with 18 refugees have so far resulted in 3 hires.

In 2021 we had two finalists in the European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards. Stefanie Stubbé, consultant water and finance international, won the Cobouw Young Talent Award (link opens in Dutch). Our Human Resources Management Director Meike Salvadó was listed in the Next Leadership 50 (link opens in Dutch) by Dutch business magazine MT/Sprout. Furthermore, our branch in Vietnam was recognised as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Asia at HR Asia's prestigious annual awards.

We are proud to have started our journey to reduce inequalities, overcome bias and unlock the power of diversity in our traditional industry and society. Working on lasting change, we took the following steps in 2021: 

  1. We became partners with the Diverse Sustainability Initiative (DSI) to help transform and promote diversity within our industry. We renewed our membership and commitment to Women in Engineering and Science’s (WISE) purpose: growing the number of women and young girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

  2. We appointed female leaders in director positions because of their qualities and as a result have strong female role models in positions where they can effect change and inspire colleagues.

  3. We delivered unconscious bias training to teams and especially to managers and recruiters to create awareness of everyone’s unconscious bias.

  4. We launched employee networks for disability, LGBTQ+ and diverse ethnic backgrounds to guide best practice and understanding of every individual’s lived experience.

  5. We committed to have equal representation in longlists of recruitment, succession and development programmes. We aspire to having diverse selection teams and interview panels.

  6. We ran internal and external campaigns, often around special days like International Women’s Day, to share what we are doing and to inspire others.

  7. We signed the G20 Empower Women pledge to accelerate women’s advancement to leadership positions.

  8. In the United Kingdom we launched our first mentorship programme for female employees, striving to develop women to access more senior positions and thus close the gender pay gap.

  9. In Vietnam we launched a coaching programme focusing on softer skills, tailormade to our Vietnamese senior female colleagues. This follows the commitment by our managing director in Vietnam to support the Women’s Empowerment Principles in 2020. The seven principles, developed by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in businesses and communities.

In 2022, we aim to launch further programmes in other countries where needed. We continue to encourage more women into engineering through initiatives such as recruitment campaigns and career encouragement.


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International Women in Engineering Day took place in June 2021 to celebrate the amazing work that our female engineering heroes around the world are doing to enhance society together and to support lives and livelihoods every day.

Engagement and enthusiasm

Monitoring the well-being of our people and actively addressing the results is essential for protecting and futureproofing our business continuity and practising our promise that we care. Regular pulse checks tracked the well-being and resilience of our people and identified where we needed to provide additional support.

In 2021 we could see that the pandemic and consequential working from home impacted the engagement of our employees. We could see that colleagues struggled with balancing work and private life, taking regular breaks from work, and getting enough physical exercise. Above all, they missed the social and spontaneous aspect of connecting with colleagues in the office.
To mitigate this, we organised collective engagement initiatives like the global online New Year’s event, the Mid Year event and the 140-year celebrations event. We continued Serendipity calls, initiated by colleagues to meet new colleagues, making global connections and sharing professional experience in the Covid-19 environment. In 2021 more than 3,000 connections were made where colleagues joined randomly grouped fortnightly coffee breaks with two or three others. Similar activities included online coffee and tea breaks, joint lunch breaks and fun challenges.


New joiners in 2021 took our workforce to 5,887, indicating a recovery from the global pandemic.

In our company, 43.8% has a nationality that is not Dutch. In total, we have 82 different nationalities in our global organisation. Our female employees make up 26% of our total workforce. The number of female employees has remained consistent over the past years. The number of female employees in line management positions has increased over the year from 19% to 21% in 2021. Our ambition is to have 35% female employees in 2025.

With the combination of three business lines into two new ones being Mobility & Infrastructure and Water & Maritime, there have been some shifts in our line management. On average, the span of control in the business is around 16 employees per manager.

Our HR Talent Acquisition team plays an important role in attracting the right talents. In 2021 the team was a finalist in the LinkedIn Talent Awards.