Laing O’Rourke signs the BITC Race at Work Charter


Laing O’Rourke has joined over 800 UK employers in signing up to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, an initiative designed for businesses to collectively commit to improving equal opportunities for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees in the UK.

Launched in 2018, the Race at Work Charter builds on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which found that people from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse backgrounds are still underemployed, underpromoted and under-represented at senior levels.

As Laing O’Rourke signed the charter, its Chairman, Sir John Parker, GBE FREng said that he would use his position:

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“to help challenge and support the business to identify, develop and promote ethnic minority people in the talent pipeline, and publish our ethnicity pay gap, set targets and set an action plan to meet them.”

Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Director at Business in the Community, said: “We would like to thank Laing O’Rourke for publicly committing to be an inclusive and responsible employer. By signing up to the charter, they are joining over 800 businesses who are working together so that the UK can have one of the most inclusive workplaces in the world. By taking collective action, we can break down workplace barriers, raise the aspirations and achievements of talented individuals regardless of their ethnicity and deliver an enormous boost to the long-term economic position of the UK.”

The Race at Work Charter calls on businesses to:

  • Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
  • Capture data and publicising progress
  • Ensure zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Make equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression
  • Support race inclusion allies in the workplace
  • Include Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse-led enterprise owners in supply chains.

The announcement comes on the first day of Race Equality Week, a UK-wide campaign where organisations, including Laing O’Rourke unite in activity to seriously address race in the workplace.

This year’s theme of ‘actions not just words’ recognises that race equality will only be achieved when everyone plays their part. Throughout the week, Laing O’Rourke colleagues and leaders will share their own commitments to driving equality in the workplace via the company’s LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Sir John’s sentiment was supported by Vinura Kanesathasan, Finance Analyst and co-chair of the company’s employee-led Religion, Ethnicity And Cultural Heritage committee. Vinura’s own commitment is “to ensure the conversation on racial equality continues on after Race Equality Week ends, and to encourage more allies to join our journey.”

Declan McGeeney, Director of Infrastructure and Specialist Trading in the UK, and executive sponsor of Laing O’Rourke’s REACH added:

“I commit to encourage everybody to think more actively and consciously about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and take time to learn and appreciate each other’s differences.”

Race Equality Week runs from 7 – 13 February 2022.