British American Tobacco - Career development

Quick Navigation

Jump to content
Career development

Career development

Progressing talented people so they can thrive

Our leadership teams the world over demonstrate our commitment to promoting and developing the very best people, wherever they are from.

And as you’d expect from a leading global business, we offer highly competitive rewards for success, invest heavily in training and development and offer truly international career opportunities.

Our global talent strategy aims to create a legacy of leaders. We focus on driving high performance and the development of leadership capabilities to help our people realise their full potential. We do this by providing the right job experiences, opportunities to learn from others and through our global learning and development portfolio.

We place a lot of emphasis on creating a coaching culture, as we believe that training and development should take place as close as possible to the work being done. We also think that coaching is the right way to develop leaders at all levels, to share knowledge and to build better business solutions.

Global graduate initiatives

Our one-year Global Graduate Programme offers graduates a full-time role from day one and the chance to make an immediate impact on our business.

With the aim of becoming a manager at the end of the first year, our Global Graduate Programme offers world-class development and training to help build business awareness and aid functional development.

Among the training offerings is the BAT Global Graduate Academy: an intensive two-week training as part of our Global Graduate Programme. The programme focuses on developing the next generation of diverse leaders and accelerating the development of their commercial leadership skills. It also gives them access to career and development advice from senior leaders and Management Board members.

Battle of Minds is our global competition focused on finding the brightest early-career business minds around the globe – helping to develop the next generation of diverse leaders. In 2022, the contest again focused on ESG, with more than 4,500 people entering and 750 brilliant ideas submitted. The winners were Team FlexSea from the UK, who won with their idea of proprietary technology that creates a seaweed-derived bioplastic that can be used as packaging.

Learning and development

Delivering world-class L&D opportunities for our employees has always been an integral part of our culture.

L&D is becoming an increasingly important enabler to accelerate our transformation and we have a firm commitment to developing leadership and functional ‘must win’ capabilities. All functional ‘must win’ capabilities have foundational learning programmes in place, creating a level playing field of knowledge and skills.

In 2022, we launched a new programme for the most senior 120 executives in the Group called the GLM120 A Better Tomorrow™ Programme. The programme provided learning in:

  • Sustainable net turnover growth;
  • ESG, science and regulation;
  • Impact and influence; and
  • Leading innovation.

Our flagship learning programme, Made@BAT provides advanced level skills development for all our marketing managers, equipping them with the best external, off-the-shelf learning content to be able to build brands in the digital era.

Over 3,200 managers attended our core leadership programmes in 2022, including the Women in Leadership programme and the Global Graduate Academy.

We also continue to accelerate and broaden the capability development of all managers in the Group via our digital learning platform, The Grid. The platform provides leadership, digital and functional learning content for all 13,000 managers, anytime, anywhere, promoting a culture of self-development and continuous learning.

In addition, our flagship talent development tool, 'Leadermeter', focuses on transformational leadership attributes and provides robust individual insights. It facilitates an active focus on an individual’s development and allows for talent actions to build the leadership pipeline.


Our flagship Marketing Learning and Development programme, Marketing Acceleration in the Digital Era (Made@BAT) aims to provide skills development for all our marketing managers, equipping them with the best learning content to be able to build brands in the digital era.

In addition to the Made@bat programme, we introduced Certified Marketeer Level 1 (CM1), an external skills assessment with 6-month learning sprints, which is benchmarked against other consumer packaged goods and technology organisations.

In 2020, the programme scaled-up from face-to-face workshops to virtual classrooms, and by the end of 2022, the programme coverage reached over 87% of the eligible marketing audience from the markets in which we sell New Category products.

To date, 1,770 marketing employees from various grade levels have experienced the made@bat programme, representing 87% of our eligible full-time employees. The Net Promoter score for the made@bat programme exceeds the industry average (65-75%), with 84% of participants 'very satisfied’ with the learning content and 100% would recommend to colleagues

Additionally, 1,600 marketing managers successfully completed the CM1 assessment, 701 scored in the top 20% of the 60,000-participant benchmark and achieved CM1 accreditation. To measure the success of the programme, we assessed skills before and following completion.  Skills increased by an average increase of 13.5%. This placed BAT above the CPG industry benchmark and on a par with the digital native industry benchmark. Speaking to the success of the programme, one of our Senior Digital & E-Commerce Managers said “the team has shown a greater understanding and comprehension for the various digital marketing portfolios, greater respect and empathy towards each other for each other's specialties, have shown a greater interest in data availability and use”

Women in Leadership (WIL) Programme

Women in Leadership (WIL) is our long-running programme within our leadership portfolio, which supports the accelerated development of women at middle to senior levels. The programme aims to increase organisational performance through enhanced leadership capabilities and diversity. This supports:

  • Our purpose-led strategy to build A Better Tomorrow™ for all our stakeholders, delivered by our people, through our culture and ethos: bold, fast, empowered, responsible and diverse.
  • Our Group strategic target to grow the proportion of women in management1 roles to achieve 45% representation by 2025.

In 2022, we expanded the scope and launched new WIL Foundation programmes for women in the junior management level and in the same year, 28% of eligible FTEs participated in the programme.

The success of the programme can be measured from its continuous high demand and feedback from delegates -an average 4.6 out of 5- and the subsequent promotion rate. In 2022, 20% of our management-level female employees were promoted, compared to 16% of male management-level employees.

Performance Management

Our focus is on driving high performance; developing the next generation of leaders; valuing the diversity of our employees; encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial behaviour; and creating an engaging culture where individuals and teams can be successful. This is enabled through our approach to performance management.

BAT Group objectives are communicated to employees through engagement sessions, which provide clarity of objectives and alignment to our Group strategy. We hold meetings called ‘performance calibration sessions,’ which support the fair appraisal of employee performance. These meetings involve multiple stakeholders and managers. Our line managers are required to clearly articulate performance expectations both at a team and individual level and provide regular feedback throughout the year. We also encourage the use of 360 feedback, where suitable. In addition, we formally record performance once a year, where employees receive an overall rating based on their performance across business and individual objectives.

1 The number of female management-grade employees as a percentage of the total number of management-grade employees. Management-grade employees include all employees at job grade 34 or above, as well as any global graduates. The gender of each employee is typically recorded at the point of hire.

You might also be interested in

A Better Tomorrow

‘The transformation is real, and we are delivering tangible change’

Flora Okereke, BAT’s Head of Regulatory Insights and Foresights, discusses the positive impact of BAT’s A Better Tomorrow™ ambition in the latest edition of Tobacco Reporter magazine.

Read more >