What it does: Construction and Engineering
Staff stats: Around 15,000 globally, 2500 in Australia
The good bits: Focus on safety and professional development
The not so good bits: Long hours
Hiring grads with degrees in: Engineering, Maths, IT & Computer Sciences; Property & Built Environment.
The Laing O’Rourke story
In 1978, an Irish-born, London-based construction worker called Ray O’Rourke – created a business with his brother Des called R O’Rourke & Son. The original business plan was to work as subcontractors doing formwork and concreting. The company’s first office was a spare room in Ray’s house. In 2001, Ray bought [British infrastructure developer] John Laing’s construction division, Laing Construction. He then changed his company’s name to Laing O’Rourke.
Laing O’Rourke now has operations in Abu Dhabi, Australia, Dubai, Hong Kong, the UK.
The O’Rourke brothers have moved on from formwork to do modular manufacturing, building and infrastructure construction, investment and development, as well as providing engineering expertise and support services. The company has big-name clients in the building, transport, power, water, utilities, mining, oil and gas industries. It has been involved in high-profile projects around the globe. These include the Darwin Convention Centre, Western Australia’s Kwinana Power Station, Queensland’s Darling Downs Power Station, Sydney’s Port Botany Terminal 3, the iconic Leadenhall Street ‘Cheesegrater’ skyscraper in central London, Crossrail, High Speed 2, airports around the world, Dubai’s 1500-room luxury resort ‘Atlantis, The Palm’, the (spherical) Aldar Properties headquarters in the U.A.E and the redevelopment of Ascot Racecourse.
Laing O’Rourke Australia, headquartered in Sydney, was established in 2004. In 2006 it acquired Barclay Mowlem, an Australian infrastructure business (with operations throughout South-East Asia) best known for building the Alice Springs to Darwin railway.
Laing O’Rourke remains a privately owned business. It now describes itself as a “$6 billion international operation committed to becoming the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry.”
The company has long striven to foster a supportive environment. One where “everyone can reach their full potential by ensuring policies and procedures support the attraction, selection, retention and promotion of people from a diverse range of candidates on the basis of skills and merit.” The company does not tolerate any form of harassment and bullying. Nor does it accept any form of unlawful discrimination against staff, subcontractors, suppliers, customers or members of the public.
Laing O’Rourke champions sustainability. It seeks to “balance social, environmental and economic considerations” and “work to stringent standards to make a positive contribution to environmental protection whilst raising standards for the industry as a whole”.
The company aims to be a considerate constructor and minimise any adverse impacts its projects have on nearby communities. In order to have a “positive and long-lasting effect in the communities in which we live and work”, Laing O’Rourke supports “local charitable initiatives and other not-for-profit organisations”. It also encourages employees to volunteer for good causes, “giving them the opportunity during working hours to share their time and expertise”.
The company takes its “social and economic responsibilities seriously” and pays “the correct amount of tax when it is due in the countries where we operate”. They also have substantial philanthropic investments and charity support through grants, volunteer days and donations in-kind.
The recruitment process
Laing O’Rourke seeks to recruit today’s brightest graduates to create the next generation of engineering and construction talent.
To be eligible for the company’s grad program, you’ll need a background in one or more of the following disciplines:
• Engineering; civil, services (electrical and mechanical), environmental
• Commercial management; (quantity surveying, law, planning and project controls)
• Construction management
The company looks for grads who “combine academic achievement with personal drive and a commitment to hard work”.
Those with a relevant qualification can apply via the company’s website.
Laing O’Rourke prides itself on its “straightforward” recruitment process. After making an online application, shortlisted candidates will be invited to complete online psychometric assessments and attend a face-to-face interview. If your references check out and there are no disqualifying medical issues, you then receive an offer.
Laing O’Rourke’s 24-month program offers “diverse on-the-job experience [that] will be complemented by an engaging series of learning modules, helping you to build the right blend of personal and professional skills”. Grads are “mentored by experienced leaders and enjoy strong support from line managers and a large peer group network”.
While it’s not shy about trumpeting what it can offer in other areas, Laing O’Rourke doesn’t reveal much about its remuneration arrangements but appears it pays salaries at or above the industry average. The company does take health and safety seriously, meaning the chances of suffering a workplace injury (that has the potential to derail your finances) is low.
During the grad program, you’ll be encouraged to list your career goals and develop a plan for achieving them. You’ll then receive ongoing support to achieve those goals from the company’s graduate development team, as well as the network of business contacts the company will help you cultivate.
All staff are encouraged to have a “clear sense of direction”. The company invests heavily in training and education programs to assist employees “build the capabilities they need to achieve their aspirations”.
The vibe of the place
Ray O’Rourke is a tireless go-getter. That spirit remains embedded in the giant family business he has grown over the last four decades. If you’re the driven type who is happy to put in long hours and work hard, you should find Laing O’Rourke the kind of results-orientated meritocracy where your efforts are rewarded.
From the Employer:
"Laing O’Rourke offers a market-leading and award-winning Graduate Development Programme. We provide unparalleled career opportunities for talented graduates who are positive, team-focused and performance-driven.
The two year Graduate Development Programme commences in January each year and is targeted at high potential, highly motivated individuals who have recently graduated from university. The programme is designed to stretch and challenge, while focusing on developing the essential foundations for a successful career.
Laing O’Rourke Graduates are provided with the opportunity to work across a variety of exciting projects, placements and positions throughout the organisation to give them a comprehensive overview of the business. By completion of the programme, the Graduate will have gained knowledge, skills and networks across a range of different functions, projects, sectors and regions.
In addition to on-the-job training, Graduates are also invited to attend tri-annual Development Days which focus on building technical and professional skills. These events also provide an opportunity to network with peers and establish relationships with business leaders. At the completion of the programme, the organisation will acknowledge achievements at a Graduation event, and the graduates will transition into their permanent placements across the business."