Culture and diversity

Encouraging and empowering our people

Our employees come from many cultures and backgrounds, and our business benefits from the breadth of ideas and experiences they bring.

Diversity helps us to understand our consumers, customers and stakeholders and to meet their needs. It also provides different ways of looking at challenges, encouraging creativity and innovation.

To maintain a diverse workforce we need to attract talented individuals from different backgrounds and make sure our culture supports them. Our Guiding Principles have always included a statement on how diversity gives us a competitive advantage.

We are committed to enhancing the diversity of our senior management teams, focused on gender and nationality, and so are supporting the career development of these focus groups.

There are 147 nationalities represented at management level within our Group, and we are pleased with the continuous progress we are making and the sustainable pipeline we are building in terms of nationality diversity.

We are also continuing to work hard to improve gender diversity within the Group. From 1 April 2019, women will represent 30% of our Board, while in 2018 we increased female representation in senior management to 22%.

In 2019, two of our five new Management Board members are women. We also have female executives on all our senior functional and geographical leadership teams, and 46% of our 2018 graduate intake were women, ensuring a sustainable pipeline of women for senior management roles.

In addition, in 2018, 51% of our senior recruits and 33% of internal promotions were women, moves that have helped deliver stronger and more diverse leadership teams.

Several initiatives have been instrumental in the progress we have made. One of the ways that we are supporting women’s progression into senior roles is through a programme called Women in Leadership, which provides training, mentoring and other types of career support for high potential female employees.

Providing women and other diverse groups an opportunity to connect, engage and share experiences is one of our key enablers. One of the newest of these, Women in BAT UK, was launched in June 2017 and has already amassed more than 350 members.

Helping LGBT+ employees realise their potential

B United, a self-governed global network of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans (LGBT+) employees working across BAT Group companies, was relaunched in 2018, a major milestone in our inclusivity journey. Under the banner of ‘Be You, Be Proud, Be United’, the programme assists and guides the implementation of our world-class equality policies across the Group, while developing and nurturing an inclusive and welcoming culture for LGBT+ employees.


In October 2018, we announced the launch of a new range of benefits, available in all the countries where we operate, to help new parents working at BAT balance their home and work lives during the first year of parenthood.

This initiative – called Parents@BAT – offers a minimum of 16 weeks’ fully paid maternity leave for new mothers and adoptive parents and a return-to-work guarantee. It also includes flexible working opportunities and an online advice service offering coaching support for all parents when needed.

Parents@BAT, effective from 1 January 2019, offers significantly better terms than existing legal requirements in a number of our markets. The minimum 16 weeks’ fully paid maternity leave element of the initiative goes above and beyond local requirements in 26 countries, including: the United States, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Nigeria, Argentina, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan.

While Parents@BAT provides minimum guidelines, BAT’s support for new parents already goes far beyond these, and local statutory requirements, in many countries. In the UK, for example, parents on maternity leave receive six months’ full pay and pro-rata bonus, statutory pay for three months and a return to work guarantee.

Our short video explains more about Parents@BAT.

Our parents@BAT initiative

We’re launching a range of benefits that will help new parents at BAT balance their home and work lives during the first year of parenthood.

You can read more about Parents@BAT here.

Employment Principles

Key to our culture is a set of fair minded Employment Principles which apply to all our operations. The Principles state that we will not discriminate in hiring, promotion or retirement decisions on the grounds of candidates’ or employees’ race, colour, gender, age, social class, religion, smoking habits, sexual orientation, politics or disability. Rather, we match the requirements of the job to the ability and potential of the individual.

Our companies are required to operate according to the Group Employment Principles, with flexibility to customise their management of employee and development issues in the ways that are most appropriate to their local business environments.

Employment Principles (105 kb)

Listening to employees

In 2017, we ran the Group’s global employee survey, ‘Your Voice’. We received extraordinary results. The survey had a response rate of 95% – 10 percentage points higher than the average response rate for this type of survey – with the Engagement Index score of 83% being 12 percentage points higher than the fmcg comparator norm of 71%. This survey conveys the pride which many employees have in working for us.

The full results of the survey can be viewed in our sustainability performance centre .

We use feedback from our surveys to address areas of improvement, alongside our other initiatives to provide a workplace that will enable people to develop and contribute to the Group’s success in the years ahead.