Boss of contractor Laing O’Rourke argues for shorter weeks to attract young people into the construction industry

Ray O'Rourke

Ray O’Rourke, chair and chief executive of contractor Laing O’Rourke, has called for firms to move towards 35-hour working weeks to attract more young people into the industry.

Speaking at the Government Construction Summit O’Rourke said: “The industry is not a very attractive place to be. It’s not sustainable to work with the current methods of delivery.”

He argued that a move to greater use of off site construction would make it “inevitable” that working weeks would be shortened.

He said: “You would have less demand for hours of work and you would be able to have young people interested in a career.”

Laing O’Rourke has invested millions in a massive off site construction plant in Derbyshire. “The approach that we are bringing forward is key to enabling a 35-hour working week,” he said.

O’Rourke also argued that the industry needed  a more collaborative approach to procurement which incentivised all parties to be deliver successful projects ditching the current adversarial atmosphere.