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Balfour Beatty CEO, Leo Quinn - Founder of the 5% Club

Leo Quinn is hoping to drive positive change beyond the limits of Balfour Beatty, founding The 5% Club to help provide equal opportunities for everyone in the workplace.


Guest Profile: Leo Quinn, CEO at Balfour Beatty

Gender: Male

Industry: Construction

No. of employees: 26,000

What did you want to be when you were younger? Working in building/construction.

Best idea of all time? The Victorian sewage system and the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Best piece of advice ever received? The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Aside from being a prime example of a ‘Listening Leader’, Balfour Beatty CEO Leo Quinn also ensures he is using his influence to give younger, more unfortunate people opportunities in life that may be otherwise inaccessible to them.

In October 2013, Leo founded The 5% Club to help address the issue of poverty happening as a result of high youth unemployment, with many young people lacking the necessary skills and experience required in the modern workplace.


The 5% Club was created so that employers -big and small, in every industry - would increase their 'earn and learn' training opportunities, raising people's employable skills to ensure the UK has a society and economy which lifts its citizens out of poverty

-----  Leo Quinn, CEO at Balfour Beatty  -----

The 5% Club is a movement consisting of over 570 employers, providing ‘earn and learn’ opportunities for people to develop the necessary skills to become more employable and build meaningful careers.

Leo’s goal is to contribute towards building equal opportunities for all UK citizens, helping to train people in the skills needed for the world of tomorrow.

Across the UK, members of The 5% Club collectively employ:

  • More than 1.2 million people
  • 46,000 apprentices
  • 14,000 people on graduate programmes
  • 7,000 sponsored students

All in all, over 67,000 people in the workplace have been given opportunities to train and develop their skills by members of The 5% Club.


The 5% Club is a great way for employers both to share best practices and to raise awareness of “earn and learn” among the next generation, to make sure they can access the skills to thrive in this changing world.

-----  Leo Quinn, CEO at Balfour Beatty  -----

The 5% Club movement hopes to break down the ‘degree bias’ of employers by nurturing a workplace that is inclusive and accessible to all.

Leo sat down with Sideways 6 Founder & CEO, Will Read, as part of our Listening Leaders podcast series.

You can listen to their conversation here as Leo shares more about the employee suggestion scheme he introduced at Balfour Beatty - 'My Contribution' - and why he feels that empowering each and every employee to share their ideas is helping Balfour Beatty to operate in a more profitable way. 

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