British American Tobacco - Embracing diversity and inclusion

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Embracing diversity and inclusion

Respecting and celebrating each other’s differences

To maintain a diverse workforce we need to attract and retain talented individuals from different backgrounds and make sure our culture supports them.

Few other companies are as diverse as BAT – diversity is a key element of our ethos at BAT. We have very diverse customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and want a diverse workforce to meet their needs. Across our Group there are more than 140 different nationalities represented at management level. We value this kind of diversity because it encourages innovation, creativity and different ways of thinking; it creates a fascinating place to work, with opportunities to collaborate with a wide range of people from various countries, cultures and with different perspectives.

Our Chief Executive, Jack Bowles, says: “I am passionate about ownership, accountability and delivery and empowering our leaders across the organisation to keep us moving forward. I am also a great believer in the power of diversity in BAT – by harnessing diverse perspectives and ways of thinking we are far better placed to understand and meet the preferences of adult consumers in our diverse markets.”

BAT was recognised as a Financial Times Diversity Leader for 2021 for a second consecutive year that we had attained this accolade. The prestigious FT Diversity Leaders report recognises the top 850 companies across 16 European countries that have achieved a diverse and inclusive workplace. It assesses key areas including: Gender balance; sexual orientation; and a workforce comprised of an ethnic and social mix that reflects wider society.

BAT is an FT Diversity Leader again

BAT was recognised as a Financial Times Diversity Leader for a second consecutive year. This acknowledges our ongoing commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture.

In January 2023, BAT was recognised as a Global Top Employer for a sixth consecutive year by the Top Employers Institute.

We were one of just 11 companies to receive Global Top Employer certification for 2022, which is based on an extensive review of employer practices across six HR domains and 20 topics, including People Strategy, Work Environment, Talent Acquisition, Learning, Well-being,  Diversity & Inclusion and more.

In addition to recognition as a Global Top Employer, BAT has also been named Top Employer in 33 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Top Employer status recognises BAT’s commitment to attracting the best talent, investing in its people and being a great place to work.

Read more about some of the diversity initiatives that help us stand out from the rest.

We are committed to increasing the proportion of women in senior leadership teams to 40% and in management roles to 45% by 2025. In 2021, 47% of our external management-level recruits were women. Women also comprised 51% of our new graduate intake in 2021. Representation of women on senior leadership teams was 27% in 2021 and women represent 39% of all management roles globally.

The positive impact of our strategy can also be seen in markets where cultural, religious or other factors can make D&I more challenging and complex. For example, in Saudi Arabia, we have taken bold steps to create a gender balanced organisation with 75% of new management hires being women, we also appointed the first female General Manager in our South Korean business, as well as several appointments of local female talent in Sub-Saharan Africa leadership positions.

As well as striving for gender balance, our D&I strategy focuses on diversity of nationalities and ethnicities across our organisation. Our target is to achieve at least a 50% spread of distinct nationalities in all our regional and functional leadership teams to better mirror our consumer base. In 2021, this was achieved for 92% of our leadership teams.

In 2021, we launched a new D&I toolkit for all our managers, as well as a Race and Ethnicity Allyship Guide. This guide provides practical information to help debunk myths and misconceptions, understand unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and micro-inequalities. It also provides tips on how to proactively create an inclusive environment and support racial and ethnic diversity. In the US, we have a dedicated African-American Employee Resource Group (ERG) for Black employees and allies who are passionate about making a positive impact in our organisation and communities. The ERG creates a space for sharing experiences, educating colleagues, serving communities and driving personal and professional development as it relates to matters that are relevant to Black employees and the broader Black communities across the globe. And in the UK, we are signatories to the UK Race at Work Charter for supporting racial equality in the workplace.

In 2021, we asked all our UK employees to voluntarily self-declare their ethnicity, with 77% choosing to do so. This provides us with a fuller picture of the diversity of our employees, so we can ensure we are focusing our efforts in the right area and increasing transparency. As part of this, for the first time, we have published ethnicity pay gap data for UK employees in our 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Report

You can view data on the proportion of women in senior management in our 2021 ESG Report (9.1 mb)

In 2021, we became the first in our industry to achieve accreditation with the Global Equality Standard and UK National Equality Standard, while we are also certified as a level 1 Disability Confident Committed employer, demonstrating our commitment to providing equal opportunities for disabled employees.

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