Laing O'Rourke publishes 2021 Gender Pay Gap Report


Laing O’Rourke has today submitted its latest Gender Pay Gap report to the UK Government, showing the number of women in all pay quartiles had continued to increase since its first report in 2017.

Under the calculations required by Government, in April 2021 female median* hourly pay was 4.0% lower than men’s (vs 2020: 17.6%) and mean* hourly pay was 8.1% lower than men (vs 2020: 13.6%).

These are significant reductions in the gender pay gap calculation, but Laing O’Rourke again warned about the volatility of such figures.

Rae Avatar Barnett, Head of the People function for Laing O’Rourke’s Europe Hub said: “While the data required by Government provides a useful snapshot of a moment in time, at Laing O’Rourke we are driven by our longer-term goal to achieve 50:50 gender representation in staff roles, and to improve the quality of employment of all people on the frontline of construction, which will open up careers to women and other poorly-represented groups in this sector.

“Movement each year in overall gender pay gaps can be driven more by changes in demographics that are out of our control, than by changes to pay policies.

“While the UK gender pay reporting guidelines don’t recognise the impact of the different operating models in the construction sector, such as Laing O’Rourke’s unique direct delivery approach, the requirements have been a catalyst for deep data analysis which has helped inform our action planning and broader sustainability targets."

In April 2020 Laing O’Rourke set out a commitment to a staff population with equal representation of men and women. Adding weight to the commitment, the funding arrangements the company has in place with its bank incentivises or penalises the business depending on progress against these metrics.

Rae added: “one of the required pay gap metrics asks us to divide our employees into four pay quartiles. This allows us to see how many women we have in the most senior paid positions through to the lower quartile band. They are important measures because they show us if our plans to attract early talent and mid-career women are working.

“Since we first starting reporting in 2017, we have seen an increase in the number of women across all quartiles, but of particular interest is the move in the upper mid quartile – as these are the women that will develop into more senior roles.

“In 2017, our upper mid quartile was made up of 7.4% female and 92.6% male. The latest report shows it at 14% female, 86% male.

“The role models available to women in this band now include two female Board members and women in leadership roles including CFO, Group Legal & Tax Director, Australian Managing Director and heads of our Technical and People functions in both Hubs."

On International Women’s Day, (8 March) Laing O’Rourke announced that it had signed up to the Inspiring Women in Construction and Engineering Pledge, an initiative co-run by Construction News and New Civil Engineer and one that commits the business to drive change within the organisation and support initiatives to create a more inclusive industry.

On the day it also reported progress made across key areas related to creating a more gender balanced workplace. Some of these included an update on the improvement made in our early talent recruitment, which through concentrated efforts to attract and recruit more female candidates for the 2021 intake saw:

  • A graduate intake of 56% male, 44% female. Summer and Industrial Placements that were 50:50 and a Professional Apprentice intake of 45% female.
  • Despite concerted efforts to attract females into its Trade and Technical Apprenticeships the 2021 cohort remained 91% male. Undeterred, this year Laing O’Rourke has joined forces with Women into Construction and will adopt attraction and recruitment methods piloted on its Tideway project to inspire females into its Trade and Technical Apprenticeship programme, with applications now open.

The company also reported that through new approaches to recruitment it saw a 9% increase in female new hires during 2021 (compared to 2020).

Recognising that annual reporting provides a transparent benchmark for future planning, Laing O’Rourke has also committed to publish its first ethnicity pay gap during financial year 2023.


Gender pay gap definition

Gender pay gap reporting requires all employers with more than 250 employees to provide annual snapshot data, with figures providing an insight into the pay gap, the number of women across pay quartiles and the breakdown of bonus payments taken from one week within the year. In 2021, Laing O’Rourke provided data based on the 5,800 weekly and monthly paid employees in the UK business as at 5 April.

You can read the Gender Pay Gap report in the Governance section of the website.

Equal pay

It’s important to understand the difference between equal pay and gender pay. Gender pay is about showing the difference in average earnings overall between men and women at a company.

Equal pay legislation, however, ensures that everyone undertaking like work rated as
equivalent or of equal value, is paid the same.

Laing O’Rourke is are confident that its recruitment procedures, pay governance and review processes ensure compliance with equal pay legislation.


*About mean and median in UK Gender Pay Gap reporting

The mean hourly rate is the average hourly wage across the entire organisation so the mean gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between women’s average hourly wage and men’s average hourly wage.

The median hourly rate is calculated by ranking all employees from the highest paid to the lowest paid, and taking the hourly wage of the person in the middle; so the median gender pay gap is the difference between women’s median hourly wage (the middle paid woman) and men’s median hourly wage (the middle paid man).​