The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Good Jobs

Materiality Assessment Topic: Compensation and Benefits; Employee engagement: Recruitment and career development; Freedom of association; Offshoring; Occupational health and safety | Global Reporting Initiative G4 Indicators: LA2, 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

Our Action

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

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. As of the end of 2015, we had over 287,000 employees worldwide, compared to 245,000 at year-end 2014.  In 2015, we hired more than 25,600 employees, including over 3,300 veterans — primarily in growth areas like wireless, video, cloud services and mobility applications. 

Workforce 2020

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 2015, we invested $230 million in employee learning and professional development programs. Our success in learning and development has been recognized by Chief Learning Officer magazine. AT&T placed in the top 2 spots in the publication’s LearningElite in each of the last three years — including No. 1 rankings in 2013 and 2011. AT&T is now in the publication’s Winner’s Circle.

In addition, we spent more than $31 million on tuition assistance for employees. During the year, 100 percent 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. 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. Currently there are eight different nanodegrees in our portfolio for employees. These will 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 aligning, 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 280,000 AT&T employees.

AT&T Connect to Success

This mentoring program is designed to connect select managers in committed mentoring relationships and foster leadership training opportunities.

AT&T Career Development Resource Center

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

Career Movement

Management and non-management employees can nominate themselves for job openings throughout the company, providing hiring managers with diverse, qualified job candidates.

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 more than 90 hours of training in 2015, which equates to more than 24 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 2015, our tuition assistance program helped about 10,900 employees, 56% of whom 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.

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. We also support the activities of 12 employee resource groups and nine employee networks with more than 122,000 members.

For more information, visit our Engaging Employees in their Communities issue brief. 

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 2015, afforded health and welfare benefits to approximately 1.2 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 2015, employees contributed $1.3 billion to our savings plans, and the company matched nearly $650 million. Through the Your Money Matters program launched in 2011, 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.

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.

Union Relationships

With about 50 percent union-represented employees (as of February, 2016), 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 2015, we bargained eight labor contracts with the CWA and IBEW covering more than 40,000 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.

Well-being & Safety

In 2011, AT&T launched Your Health Matters, a health and wellness program for employees. The vision of Your Health Matters 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 3,000 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 walk/runs. For these 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 second mental well-being campaign in May 2015, more than 6,000 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 voted by employees as the Most Valuable tSpace Community four years in a row.
  • Chairman’s Challenge II:  Building on the success of AT&T’s inaugural wellness competition in 2012, we launched Chairman’s Challenge II in 2015.  25,000 participants competed as individuals and teams, with six winners selected by employees. During the four-month Challenge, employees logged almost 2 million miles and lost 40,000 pounds.  AT&T recognized the winners companywide and donated funds to the charities of their choice.

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.

AT&T is 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 Worksite Innovation award for the 2015 implementation of Chairman’s Challenge II.

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 2015, our OSHA total recordable occupational injury and illness rate was 1.62 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 2014.1

U.S. Armed Services Personnel

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


Updated on: Aug 1, 2016