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Workforce Diversity

Materiality Assessment Topic: Employee Diversity | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicator: G4-10

Issue Summary

When a diverse workforce reflects society’s makeup, it serves as a foundation for good business.

Our Position

The success of our 140-year history of innovation begins with our people and a diverse and inclusive culture. This culture benefits our business, employees, customers, investors and communities. Diversity is imperative to compete in the global marketplace and a diverse workforce allows us to better understand the different needs of our customers and deliver products and services that improve their daily lives. Our customers span the globe and represent every demographic group, and we best serve them when our workforce reflects their diversity.

Data Highlights

2016 Key Performance Indicators
  • Total U.S. workforce diversity: 32% women; 43% people of color
  • Total U.S. management diversity: 35% women; 37% people of color
  • Total U.S. workforce retention rate: 82% women; 83% people of color
  • Total employee members of an Employee Resource Group/Employee Network: >136,230

Our Action

At AT&T, success begins with our diverse and inclusive workforce – and our deliberate efforts to create a culture in which all employees have the opportunity to learn and grow. We have a history of promoting diversity and prohibiting discrimination; we’ve championed LGBT rights internally and externally since the 1970s, and we were a leader in developing our supplier diversity program almost 50 years ago. Each year, we are recognized for at least 70 awards for our diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices and accomplishments from outside organizations. For example, in 2016, Fortune Magazine and global consultant Great Place to Work named AT&T a Best Workplace for Diversity. We are also committed to continually re-examining and strengthening these D&I practices.

Workforce Inclusion

Recently, we have increased our focus on D&I and created several councils across AT&T to drive awareness and employee engagement in diversity and inclusion. These include:

  • Chairman’s Diversity Council – led by AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. It comprises his direct report team, which meets quarterly to review and discuss AT&T’s D&I metrics and status of strategic initiatives.
  • Senior Executive Diversity Council – chaired by the Chief Diversity Officer. This council oversees our 4 diversity and inclusion pillars: people, marketing, community and suppliers.
  • Business Unit Diversity Councils – these councils meet monthly to develop, implement and oversee business unit initiatives to drive diversity awareness and employee engagement.
  • Chief Diversity Officer’s Forum – this council is chaired by the VP-diversity & inclusion and brings together representatives from each business unit quarterly to discuss diversity awareness building initiatives and share best practices (internal & external).
  • Joint Diversity Council – the national presidents of AT&T’s 12 employee resource groups (ERGs) meet monthly to learn about corporate initiatives, share programs that can be leveraged across ERGs and discuss any issues that need to be addressed at a corporate level.
  • Women’s Leadership Council – 20 women leaders meet monthly to research issues and recommend programs to increase attraction, development and retention of women at AT&T. This council is co-led by AT&T’s global marketing officer and chief diversity officer and is governed by a steering committee of 6 business unit officers.

AT&T leadership is committed to our inclusive culture – from recruiting diverse employees to ensuring we have diversity in all of our leadership development programs. For example, in 2016, we had nearly 700 interns from various domestic programs. Fifty-four percent of participants in our Summer Internship Program were women or people of color, while 31% were both.

We also strive to cultivate an environment where our employees have every opportunity to excel. Our leadership tracks include (among others):

  • Leadership Development Program, which targets primarily MBA grads
  • Executive Advocate Program for enhancing female and people-of-color representation at the executive- and officer-level
  • Executive Women’s Leadership Experience, which annually targets 20 top-, mid- and senior-level female leaders who have the potential to move to senior executive roles
  • XLR8R program, designed to accelerate the professional development of mid-level AT&T managers

With the exception of the all-female Executive Women’s Leadership Experience, each of our development programs’ participants averages more than 40% women and people of color.

In addition to our development programs, AT&T University (TU) represents our commitment to continuous learning. We ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in all of our TU programs. TU educates employees on how to work effectively within a diverse culture and across multiple generations and instructs managers on how diversity and inclusion impact AT&T’s bottom line. TU also partners with AT&T’s D&I team to develop training courses to highlight the business case for diversity and to help employees identify and eliminate unconscious biases.

Today, our U.S. workforce is 32% female and 43% people of color. Women are 35% percent of our managers, and 37% percent of our managers are people of color. Management consists of 45% of our workforce and 55% represent our frontline employees. In 2016, the retention rate for all women at AT&T was 82% percent, while the retention rate for people of color was 83% – making us an industry leader in this area.

By acknowledging our differences – whether we’re talking race, gender and sexual orientation or perspectives, physical and mental abilities, education and experience – we’re able to better serve our diverse customer base. 

Employee Resource Groups and Employee Networks

We support the activities of employee resource groups and employee networks with total membership now topping 136,230.

Supporting Resource Groups (ERGs)

We have 12 ERGs that are open to all employees, and they reflect the diversity of our workforce. The groups include representation for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, LGBT employees, employees with disabilities, veterans, young professionals and experienced career professionals.

The ERGs are non-profit organizations that help members grow professionally and personally, support the corporation’s annual goals and serve the community. AT&T recognizes the value and goodwill that ERGs provide in furthering the company’s goals, values and interests.

The combined ERGs in 2016 accounted for more than 369,914 volunteer hours and granted more than $699,900 in scholarships.

In 2016:

  • DiversityInc ranked AT&T’s ERGs No. 1 on its Top 10 Companies for ERGs list, as part of AT&T’s overall No. 4 ranking among its “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.”
  • LATINA Style magazine ranked HACEMOS – AT&T’s ERG for Hispanics – on its “Employee Resource Groups of the Year” list.
  • Asia Society recognized AT&T as a “Best Employer for Asian Pacific Americans Employee Resource Groups – Distinguished Performance.” The organization also deemed AT&T a “Best Practices Company: Asian Pacific American Employee Resource Groups – Best in Class.”

In September 2016, AT&T held its 8th annual National ERG Conference, in which nearly 2,000 members participated. More than 100 AT&T officers and senior managers also attended the event to share business strategies with the audience, moderate workshops and meet with ERG presidents. During the conference, Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson delivered a keynote speech promoting an understanding of tolerance to help address our nation’s racial tensions.

The annual conference also recognizes our 12 Champions of Diversity of the past year. The program honors general managers whose role model behavior supports AT&T’s D&I values, and our employee resource groups/employee networks. Selections are determined by a corporate diversity team that includes our chairman and chief diversity officer.

In addition, our ERG Leadership Academies – 2-day leader-led sessions – help participants more fully develop their leadership skill sets and talents. The academies’ curriculum includes competency and work-style assessments, development courses for building high-performance teams and conflict-resolution practices.

Employee Networks (ENs)

We have 12 ENs that are open to all employees. They focus primarily on specific business or development issues and receive no formal operational funding from the company. AT&T employees create and manage the ENs, but they are not separate nonprofit organizations, as are the ERGs. ENs are organized around cross-functional diversity and address business challenges to achieve successful results – while increasing the individual professional development of members.

AT&T has launched 4 ENs in the past 2 years alone, including 2 in 2016: AT&T Professional Engineers and Pulse of India. Of the 12 total ENs, 7 are international, and 5 primarily serve women.

In 2016, EN members accounted for 13,475 volunteer hours.

Supporting and Reaching our Diverse Customers

We think it’s important to do business in the preferred language of our customers, and we have the right workforce to help us achieve that.

  • We have more than 3,000 sales and service reps who serve customers in languages other than English.
  • We provide customer service in more than 160 languages within our customer service call centers and website.
  • We also have more nearly 800 retail stores where employees can help customers in Spanish and Chinese.
  • We have 2 websites where customers can get information in languages other than English:
  • Collateral for our Access from AT&T low-cost home internet program is available in 6 languages other than English, for organizations helping promote the program

Visit our website to learn more about how we serve our diverse customers: You’ll see that our products, such as DIRECTV and award-winning U-verse television, offer specific programming in multiple languages. We also offer many communications services to customers with vision, hearing, mobility and speech limitations.

We seek to respect cultural and other nuances in our communications, especially when working with African American, Hispanic, LGBT, military and disability groups. We also strive to ensure that our general-market advertising is inclusive and embraces diversity to reinforce positive perceptions and reach audiences of all cultures and backgrounds.

To learn more about workforce diversity please visit AT&T’s Diversity website at

Updated on: Aug 17, 2017