Jan De Nul Takes on the 500th Engineer

The international dredging group Jan De Nul has just taken on its 500th engineer: Maarten Beckers (23). “It is very special to me that we can engage the 500th engineer in times of crisis,” says Jan Pieter De Nul, CEO of Jan De Nul Group. “There are not many companies in Belgium that employ that much engineers and that can offer them such variety of jobs.” Jan De Nul has about 5000 employees in all.

There is not a single Flemish company that employs as much engineers as Jan De Nul. It is remarkable that the company succeeds in attracting so many engineers, as in twenty years’ time the number of first-year civil engineering students has dropped by half. The employers’ organisation Agoria has already rung the alarm bell about this matter.

For young engineers and highly skilled people Jan De Nul is a party in demand: in March 2010 the dredging group succeeded itself as laureate of the Randstad Award for the “Best Employer of Belgium”. For employees Jan De Nul is the symbol of job security with a company that is financially healthy and has an entrepreneurial corporate spirit. In addition, the company stands the crisis well, which makes it even more attractive to newly graduates. This year the company has already engaged 275 people for various functions.


Each new engineer that starts working for Jan De Nul, receives an intensive six-week training. Thanks to for example simulators that imitate difficult situations in a lifelike manner, he or she is prepared for the technical, logistic and administrative challenges of dredging. “As a young engineer you can immediately gain a lot of experience here,” says Beckers. “I can’t wait to finally put theory into practice.”

“Engineers get a lot of responsibility here,” Jan Pieter De Nul confirms. “You have to want to get on with it in order to get satisfaction out of this work, to be able to solve another problem every day.”

Jan De Nul is active in dredging as well as in civil and environmental works. An engineer can hold a wide range of functions within the company: CAD/CAM-designer, environmental advisor, surveyor, project manager, and so on.


Despite the scale of the company Jan De Nul keeps aiming for growth: between 2007 and 2012 the company invested more than 2 billion euros in the expansion of the fleet. At this moment fifty-six dredging vessels are operative and fifteen are under construction.

At the moment Jan De Nul Group is working on a number of high-profile projects, among which a new locks complex in the Panama canal, and the construction of the GEN under the EU district in Brussels. “The story certainly doesn’t end with the 500th engineer. The company will keep on growing,” Jan Pieter De Nul concludes.

Jan De Nul Group

Since its establishment Jan De Nul has opted for a dynamic and family corporate culture. In 1938 Jan Frans Jozef De Nul, son of a carpenter from Aalst, established himself as a contractor in civil engineering. In 1951 the company started up its first large dredging project. Since then Jan De Nul has developed into a world leader in dredging employing almost 5000 people. The activities of Jan De Nul Group are based on three pillars: dredging activities, civil construction and environmental works. Jan De Nul Group has the most modern and technologically advanced dredging fleet in the world.


Source: jandenul, October 19, 2010