The AT&T Issue Brief Library

Our issue briefs provide a summary of key topics. Download all issue briefs for a comprehensive overview, or use our issue brief builder to generate a customized PDF download with your selected topics. 

Good Jobs

Materiality Assessment Topic: Investing in employees; Employee compensation and benefits; Freedom of association; Occupational health and safety; Work-life balance and healthy lifestyles | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicators: G4-10,LA9, LA10, LA11

Issue Summary

Good jobs are especially valuable in this economy. Wages and compensation, freedom of association and training are important indicators of the health of a company’s workforce. 

Our Position

Talented, engaged employees are key to our company’s success, and we strive to be the industry’s employer of choice by investing in our people. Competitive pay and benefits attract and retain a highly qualified workforce.

Data Highlights

2016 Key Performance Indicators
  • Number of employees, retirees and dependents afforded health and welfare benefits: 1.1 million
  • Percentage of union-represented employees: about 49%
  • Amount invested in direct employee training development programs: $250 million
  • Amount invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees: >$34 million
  • Percent of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews: 100%
  • Total U.S. workforce retention rate: 82% women; 83% people of color
  • AT&T’s OSHA total recordable occupational injury and illness rate (per 100 employees): 1.75

Our Action

Our jobs are vital to the communities we serve. We have employees in each of the 50 U.S. states, and our global presence continues to grow. We now have employees in more than 55 countries outside the United States.

As of the end of 2016, we had more than 240,000 employees. In 2016, we hired more than 22,500 employees, including more than 2,100 veterans—primarily in growth areas like wireless, video, cloud services and mobility applications.

Workforce 2020

As our business changes—most notably shifting from a wireline to a wireless focus—and economic pressures impact our company, we continue to adjust the size of our workforce. Workforce 2020 is our plan to transform our workforce and develop the skills that we’ll need in the future today. It focuses on four main areas: equipping and reskilling employees; attracting critical talent; fostering high engagement; and evolving compensation plans. These encompass a wide range of initiatives through personalized training, career development programs and AT&T University.

Training & Career Development

We help our people grow and follow their desired career paths. In 2016 we invested $250 million in direct employee training and professional development programs. We’re recognized as a long-time leader in career development for our investment in employee training. As AT&T and the larger business world continue to evolve, we’re working to inspire a culture of continuous learning.

In addition, we spent more than $34 million on tuition assistance for employees. During the year, 100% of employees have performance reviews and receive feedback on results and demonstrated leadership. Career discussions are conducted with employees, focusing on short-term and long-term career planning.

We’re also looking toward the future and helping our employees prepare for the skills that will be required by future technology. Working in collaboration with Georgia Tech and Udacity Inc., we helped create the first-ever Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) degree. Since 2014, we have continued to work with Udacity to create several new self-paced, fast-track technical credentials called Nanodegree programs. There are currently eight different nanodegrees in our portfolio for employees. These provide managers with additional training opportunities for our IP, mobile, cloud future. Learn more about how we’re powering career skills.

Talent Development Programs

We encourage management and non-management employees to be the strongest contributors and leaders through job-based training, tuition aid and various training and development programs. Some examples include:

AT&T University

Launched in 2008, AT&T University (TU) is the executive-led epicenter of our culture of continuous learning. It’s our Chairman’s platform for developing a diverse leadership team, delivering strategic business training and alignment, and engaging and energizing our workforce to drive innovation. TU’s flagship program, Leading with Distinction, is redesigned each year to support our top corporate priorities and now reaches all AT&T employees.

AT&T Connect to Success

This mentoring program is designed to place select managers in committed mentoring relationships and foster leadership training opportunities. Read more here.

AT&T Career Development Resource Center

This virtual resource center supports all employees in developing strategies and learning skills to remain outstanding performers.

Continuing Skills Training

At AT&T, comprehensive training is offered across the globe. Thousands of courses are available to employees, including those tailored for our consumer call center and retail sales, business call center and direct sales, network engineering and direct sales and network. Our employees averaged nearly 70 hours of training per employee in 2016, or about 20 million total hours.

Tuition Reimbursement Program

Financial assistance is provided to management and non-management employees pursuing academic degrees that benefit both the employee and the company. In 2016, nearly $34 million was invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees. Nearly 10,300 employees participated in the tuition reimbursement program and approximately 55% were people of color.  

Social Media Reverse Mentoring Program

This program began in 2010 to connect officers and senior leaders with social media–savvy first- or second-level managers. These teams engage in social networking conversations and explore how AT&T might improve senior-level knowledge of social media while encouraging adoption of these collaboration tools.

Equal Opportunity Employment

At AT&T, we encourage success based on our individual merits and abilities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, citizenship status, military status, protected veteran status or employment status. We support and obey laws that prohibit discrimination everywhere we do business. AT&T fully considers all qualified applicants, including those with a criminal history.

AT&T has long been committed to fostering an inclusive workplace. In 1975, AT&T became one of the first major American corporations to adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation.

Read more about Diversity and Inclusion at AT&T

Employee Engagement

We believe actively engaged employees positively impact our overall company health—and that benefits our communities, customers and shareholders. Our employees are involved in serving their communities across the country through initiatives like Aspire Mentoring Academy, which engages AT&T employees to mentor underserved middle and high school students.  AT&T’s “Do One Thing (DOT)” is a voluntary, company-wide effort that invites employees to commit to regular, measurable actions that are good for themselves, their communities and/or the company. For more information, visit our Engaging Employees in their Communities issue brief.

Workplace 2020

AT&T’s Workplace 2020 initiative is aimed at creating an agile environment that attracts both our current and future workforce, increases employee engagement, aligns with our brand and supports how mobile technology is transforming the way that AT&T works. Pursuing these goals as a collaborative effort with the corporate real estate, human resources and IT teams, AT&T is focusing on our people, places and technology. Click here for information on Workplace 2020.

Compensation & Benefits

We offer competitive pay and benefits to attract and retain a highly qualified workforce. We provide health coverage, life insurance and disability coverage, and in 2016, we afforded health and welfare benefits to approximately 1.1 million employees, retirees and their dependents. We offer some of the most competitive benefits in the industry for our U.S.-based employees. In addition to medical, dental, vision, life and disability coverage, we remain committed to helping employees plan for their retirement. Through various vehicles—including defined benefit pension plans and/or 401(k) savings plans with generous matches—employees have the opportunity to save toward retirement at a time when many companies are eliminating pension plans and/or curtailing savings plans.

AT&T has the third-largest private savings plan in the United States, with about $36 billion in plan assets. In 2016, employees contributed $1.3 billion to our savings plans, and the company matched nearly $665 million.

Through the Your Money Matters program, we are committed to helping employees achieve holistic financial wellness by providing educational workshops, videos and an interactive social media site that is a central communications hub for all money-related topics. Employees can participate in forums, read blogs and learn from colleagues. AT&T provides an advisory service in the savings plans with the option to use free online tools or participate in professional management with an adviser. For many employees, we offer flexible spending accounts, health reimbursement accounts and/or health savings accounts that allow employees to pay for out-of-pocket health care and dependent care costs with funds not subject to federal taxes.

We offer a broad selection of benefits geared toward certain life events, including adoption, tuition aid, long-term care and the treatment of certain investigational medical conditions not covered by traditional health plans. AT&T also offers access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides professional and confidential assistance to employees and their families who are experiencing work-related or personal issues that may affect the quality of their professional or personal life.

Employees can receive incentives for healthy lifestyles, including reduced or no monthly contributions for filling out a Health Questionnaire. Employee engagement and participation in healthy awareness communication campaigns also result in incentives, including t-shirts, headphones, yoga mats and activity tracking devices.

Our employees are also eligible for employee discounts on AT&T-branded products and services, where available. To view more details about our benefits, visit our careers website.

Flextime and Leave

AT&T’s Flexible Workplace Program enables active collaboration and flexible work arrangements. With this program, we’re capturing the benefits of new technologies and enabling teams to work where they are most effective to meet the demands of our global work environment. Whether an employee works from an AT&T facility, a client office, home or another location, the Flexible Workplace Program can help teams manage the demands of the business, boost productivity, facilitate ideation and innovative collaboration, all while enhancing recruitment and reducing environmental impact by using space more wisely.

We also offer many company leave options to help employees maintain a proper work-life balance. Employees generally may take up to 12 months of unpaid leave to care for a newborn or adopted child or to care for a seriously ill family member. Several additional unpaid leaves are also available, including military service and personal leaves of absence. Many organizations also allow and/or utilize flextime, compressed work weeks and part-time schedules to meet business requirements and assist in employees’ work-life balance.

Union Relationships

With about 49% union-represented employees, we have the largest full-time union-represented workforce of any company in America.

We’ve built cooperative relationships with our unions, primarily with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). We work diligently with our unions to create competitive contracts that provide good wages and benefits for our employees.

We have nearly two dozen union contracts. In 2016, we completed 15 agreements with the CWA and IBEW, covering nearly 61,000 employees. Recent agreements are proof that, even in tough economic times and in the midst of major changes in the marketplace and the telecommunications industry, the company and unions can work together to provide and protect high-quality middle class careers—good union jobs with wages and benefits that are among the best in the country.


AT&T offers Your Health Matters (YHM), a health and wellness program for employees. The vision of YHM is to deliver a world-class, comprehensive health and wellness program that engages our participants, supports health care consumerism and manages health care conditions and costs for participants and AT&T. Our health initiatives focus on engaging participants using leading-edge technology and converting awareness into action through behavior-based marketing communication.

Examples include:

  • Your Health Matters Champions: Champions are a network of more than 4,300 employee ambassadors who are passionate about promoting a culture of health and wellness at AT&T. YHM introduced “grab-and-go” activity kits in 2015 to enable Champions to easily organize wellness-related activities with their colleagues, such as hydration challenges and 5K walks/runs. In 2016, YHM implemented a new Well-Being Vendor. For the roll-out events, Champions received promotional materials—including t-shirts, flyers, email templates and more—to get their colleagues engaged.
  • tSpace Communications: The YHM tSpace community provides an internal online forum for employees to talk about ways to live healthy, share their tips, successes and challenges, and receive motivation to start or maintain their health goals. In addition, the community houses educational resources promoting key areas of focus such as mental well-being, fitness and preventive care. For instance, during YHM’s third mental well-being campaign in May 2016, more than 6,900 employees pledged to “Stamp Out the Stigma” associated with mental health. The YHM tSpace community, with more than 60,000 members and growing, is the largest voluntary community within the company, and employees have voted it the Most Valuable tSpace community four years in a row.
  • AT&T is also recognized as a Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association, achieving gold-level recognition for the third year in a row for offering employees physical activity support, increasing healthy eating options at work and promoting a culture of wellness. In addition, AT&T was awarded the Fit-Friendly Award 2016 and Worksite Innovation Award for our Don’t Text and Drive Campaign.
  • In 2016, we were awarded a Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Silver Award.
  • In 2016, we implemented a new Well-Being Vendor to widen our Wellness Program to the areas of purpose, social, financial, community and physical.


Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees—it’s an essential aspect of our Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) policy. We work diligently to protect our employees through the prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses and workplace incidents. We provide job-specific EH&S training to all employees based on established guidelines and record successfully completed courses in each employee’s training record.

In the event an accident occurs in the workplace, our policy is to respond swiftly, investigate contributing factors, determine the root cause and take appropriate corrective actions to protect our employees, neighboring communities and the environment. We require employees to report all alleged work-related injuries, illnesses and accidents. For U.S. operations in 2016, our OSHA total recordable occupational injury and illness rate was 1.75 per 100 employees. This rate is lower than the most recent average published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the telecommunications industry, which was 2.2 per 100 employees in 2015.i

Supporting Our Troops

We’ve remained dedicated to supporting active military personnel, their families and military veterans. Learn more about AT&T military support.


Updated on: Aug 17, 2017