Chief operating officer Tony Douglas announces plan to recruit up to 4,500 staff next year

Laing O'Rourke plans to more than double its staff levels in the Middle East next year.

Tony Douglas, Laing O'Rourke's chief operating officer, revealed in a speech at last week's Conservative Party conference that the company aimed to employ at least another 4,000 technical and professional staff in the Middle East.

Strata Tower at Al Raha beach
Laing O'Rourke is building the Strata Tower on Al Raha beach in Abu Dhabi

The rapid expansion is a further sign that the UK's largest private construction company sees its future growth in the Gulf region.

Speaking to Building after the event, Douglas said: “It will be between 4,000 and 4,500 new staff. There is opportunity for everyone. We will be recruiting worldwide, but hopefully many of them will come from the UK.”

Tony Maguire, Laing O'Rourke's head of communications, said: “If people have the skills, the experience and the ambition, then our message is to step this way.”

According to its 2008 human capital review, Laing O'Rourke employs 4,205 staff in the Middle East and Asia, out of a total workforce of 13,121.

The firm is engaged in several large-scale projects as part of its joint venture with Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi's largest developer. The pair's £10bn Al Raha Beach project is in mid-construction along 11km of Abu Dhabi's coastline.

Laing O'Rourke's Middle Eastern division is also building the Dubai Motor City for Union Properties and is exploring opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

The firm's turnover in the Middle East rose 23.8% last year to £420m, accounting for almost 10% of the firm's global sales. Its expansion in the region is expected to make up a large proportion of its projected 20% year-on-year growth.

Maguire added that Laing O'Rourke would be opening an off-site manufacturing plant in the Middle East, similar to the facility it intends to open in Steetley in Nottinghamshire.

The Steetley facility, when it opens next year, will produce precast concrete for Laing O'Rourke's construction projects in the UK.