Laing O’Rourke reports increased gender pay gaps

The gap in earnings between male and female employees at Laing O’Rourke has increased since 2019, new analysis has revealed.

Laing O’Rourke reports increased gender pay gaps

In April this year, the firm unveiled a target to address gender balance and ensure equal numbers of men and women across its 5,500 global staff by 2033 as part of far-reaching new global sustainability targets.

However, latest gender pay gap analysis for its Europe and Australia operating hubs found that female representation is too low across both operations.

In the UK, the 2020 Gender Pay Gap report shows that in April 2020, women’s median hourly pay was 17.6% lower than men’s (2019: 6.9%) and female mean hourly pay was 13.6% lower than men’s (2019: 7.8%).

Laing O’Rourke said the increase in the gap from 2019 has been driven by demographic changes to the composition of the company’s directly-employed construction workforce (which is predominantly male) and the impacts of Covid on earnings amongst salaried staff.

It also said the data for this reporting period was influenced by the measures taken to build resilience and protect jobs at the start of the pandemic. During the month in which the data was taken (April 2020), employees on the monthly payroll experienced a temporary salary reduction of 20% to 30%, based on seniority. This reduced the monthly hourly rates for both men and women. At the same time, weekly paid workers (predominantly male) were less affected – as frontline construction work continued after only a short pause.

While stressing its commitment to recruiting more women and to provide additional opportunities for them to develop into senior roles, Laing O’Rourke warned that the impact of more females joining the business in early talent opportunities may actually widen the pay gap in some years.

“In the UK, the company’s graduate intake this year was 56% male and 44% female, the summer industrial placements cohort was 50:50, and the Professional Apprentices 2021 intake was 45% female. These are recruitment improvements that Laing O’Rourke is committed to maintaining, acknowledging they may drive short-term increases in the UK gender pay gap,” it said.

Josh Murray, group people director, added: “We have committed to a 2033 benchmark where we will have equal numbers of male and female staff within the business, and a new platform of belonging that shifts the style and inclusivity of how we, and our supply chain partners, operate our sites, projects and offices.

“Our action plans to attract and retain more women into our organisation continue to develop – and we can demonstrate significant improvements in our executive population, senior women on projects, and equality around entry-level talent. This has given us great energy to go further.

“The Australia and Europe Hubs will continue to report on gender pay gap in line with the required metrics of the respective authorities. We welcome the debate and the transparency, and will continue to demonstrate how the statistics are impacted over the long-term, within our unique, direct-delivery operating model.”

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