Culture and values

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.

Having such a diversity of people who support each other’s success creates a unique mix. Our differences are balanced by a common view on our industry – we support personal choice and the freedom to choose – and that philosophy helps drive our business strategy.

Being free to discuss and debate means we develop our business in exciting ways and give individuals their voice. Empowering teams creates fresh ideas and different experiences, keeping us sharp, innovative and ahead of the game.

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) 

Diversity focus

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, but we need to ensure our people fully embrace this value and promote it globally.

We have very diverse customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and want a diverse workforce to meet their needs. 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.

Operating in more than 200 markets, we have a very diverse workforce in terms of nationality. In 2017, we had 143 nationalities working in management globally. 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 proud of the notable progress we’ve made in gender diversity. We achieved 31% female representation on our Board and increased the female representation in senior management to 21% in 2017, which was largely driven by internal promotions. We also have female executives on all our senior functional and geographical leadership teams. Over 50% of our graduate intake were females in 2017, ensuring a sustainable pipeline of women for senior management roles.

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; we have more than ten different networking groups globally to support this. The newest of these, Women in BAT UK, was launched in June 2017 and has already amassed more than 350 members.

You can view data on the proportion of women in senior management in our sustainability performance centre .