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Fri May 07 2021

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Laing O’Rourke boss helps spearhead Australian equity initiative

1 Sep 17 Cathal O’Rourke - the managing director of Laing O’Rourke’s Australia hub - has been confirmed as a pay equity ambassador in the country’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Cathal O'Rourke
Cathal O'Rourke

WGEA is a government agency created to promote and improve gender equality in Australian workplaces; pay equity ambassadors are a network of business leaders committed to pay equity and gender equality.

O’Rourke joins more than 100 CEOs and directors across Australia who have all taken the pledge and confirmed their commitment to shrinking Australia's gender pay gap.

“I am proud to represent Laing O’Rourke as a pay equity ambassador and I look forward to doing what we can to ensure this issue is addressed by businesses across Australia,” he said. “Last year we conducted a gender pay gap review across Australia and I am proud to say we now have pay parity across the organisation and have filters in place to ensure men and women’s salaries do not diverge.

In 2016 women made up only 11.7% of the workforce in the construction sector and the current national gender pay gap is 15.3%.

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“As Australia’s largest privately-owned construction and engineering business, we have a responsibility to demonstrate that meaningful and rewarding career paths are available in this industry, regardless of a person’s gender,” Cathal added.

He said that Laing O’Rourke is committed to attracting, engaging and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce and in recent years has introduced a number of initiatives to improve diversity in the workplace. “I am delighted to confirm we have today released an update to our industry-leading paid parental leave policy,” he said.

In 2014 Laing O’Rourke introduced a new paid parental leave policy providing primary carers with access to 26 weeks of paid leave. The policy has now been updated to clarify the inclusion of all staff, both male and female, who assume the role of primary carer in their family. “We understand the importance of family friendly practices and flexible work programs to ensure our employees are supported by the business while they respond to the evolving changes and demands of their personal and family lives,” said O’Rourke.

  • Other initiatives introduced at Laing O’Rourke include:
  • a school engagement programme designed to encourage more girls into STEM courses at university and ultimately careers in construction and engineering;
  • ‘Keep in Touch’ and ‘Return to Work’ coaching programmes for all staff on parental leave;
  • a ‘Connecting Women’ programme designed to build engagement and greater visibility of female leaders and to provide a forum for connecting our women, role modelling careers, and building new networks for support and advice;
  • flexible work programmes.

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