The AT&T Issue Brief Library

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Good Jobs

Materiality Assessment Topics: Investing in employees; Employee compensation and benefits; Freedom of association; Occupational health and safety; Work-life balance and healthy lifestyles | Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures: GRI 404-1, GRI 404-2, GRI 404-3, Investing in employees MA

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

2017 Key Performance Indicators
  • Number of employees, retirees and dependents afforded health and welfare benefits: 1.1M
  • Percentage of union-represented employees: approximately 46%
  • Amount invested in direct employee training development programs: $220M
  • Amount invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees: Nearly $30M
  • Percent of employees having regular performance and career development conversations: 100%
  • Total U.S. workforce retention rate: 85% overall; 82% women; 84% people of color
  • AT&T’s OSHA total recordable occupational injury and illness rate (per 100 employees): 1.85

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 2017, we had more than 254,000 employees. In 2017, we hired over 17,000 new employees, including more than 1,700 veterans and more than 3,400 international hires, primarily in growth areas such as wireless, video, cloud services and mobility applications.

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 1 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.

Future Ready

As our business changes—most notably shifting from a wireline to a wireless focus—and as economic pressures impact our company, we continue to adjust the size of our workforce. Future Ready is our plan to continue to transform our workforce and develop the skills that we’ll need in the future today. It focuses on 4 main areas:


  1. Equipping and reskilling employees
  2. Attracting critical talent
  3. Fostering high engagement
  4. 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 2017, we invested $220 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.

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- and long-term career planning.

Skills Transformation

AT&T is in the midst of 1 of the most significant transformations in its history, moving to a high-speed mobile and video-centric network. As the company continues to evolve, AT&T is committed to engaging and reskilling all of its employees, while inspiring a culture of continuous learning. This skills transformation is part of ensuring employees are “Future Ready” and have an opportunity to fill the jobs of the future. Rather than the wholesale hiring of new talent from the outside, our investment in reskilling has led to more employee engagement and productivity as employees move into new roles and continue their career and personal growth. In 2017, out of the approximately 20 million total hours of training recorded, employees spent about 5 million hours of training dedicated to skills transformation.

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. We also added several new nanodegree options to our portfolio in 2017, including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality Developer and Predictive Analytics. These provide managers with additional training opportunities for our IP, mobile and cloud future. In addition, we launched our Coursera specialization program and new graduate program opportunities for employees to earn a Master of Data Analytics from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Data Science from the University of Notre Dame. 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 managers.

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, including courses tailored for our consumer call center and retail sales, business call center and direct sales, network engineering and direct sales, and network employees. We provided an average of more than 78 hours of training per employee in 2017, 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 2017, nearly $30 million was invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees. More than 7,700 employees participated in the tuition reimbursement program.

Compensation & Benefits

We offer some of the most competitive pay and benefits in the industry to attract and retain a highly qualified workforce. We provide health coverage, life insurance and disability coverage, and in 2017 we offered health and welfare benefits to approximately 1.1 million employees, retirees and their dependents. 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 tax advantaged funds.

Through an array of retirement vehicles—including defined benefit and/or defined contribution plans with generous matches—we are helping employees plan for their retirement. Employees have the opportunity to save toward retirement through employer sponsored benefit plans at a time when some companies are eliminating and/or curtailing savings plans.

AT&T has 1 of the largest private savings plan in the United States, with about $45 billion in plan assets. In 2017, employees contributed $1.4 billion to our savings plans, and the company matched over $700 million.

Through the Your Money Matters program, we are helping employees achieve holistic financial wellness by providing educational workshops, videos and an interactive social media site that serves as a central communications hub for all money-related topics. Employees can participate in forums, read blogs and learn from colleagues.

Employees are also able to choose from a wide range of investment options with varying risk tolerance levels to assist in their retirement needs. The Savings plan provides participants with an investment advisory service and with the option to either use free online tools or participate in fee-based professional management with an adviser.

We offer a broad selection of benefits geared toward certain life events, including adoption, long-term care and the treatment of certain investigational medical conditions not covered by traditional health plans. As part of our robust suite of family benefits, Paid Parental Leave provides moms and dads up to 8 weeks of paid time off to bond with their new addition. 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.

White House Equal Pay Pledge

AT&T is a signatory to the White House Equal Pay Pledge instituted under President Obama, which states:

We believe that businesses must play a critical role in reducing the national pay gap. To that end, we commit to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations, reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers, and embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.

Signing on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge reinforces and validates what we already deliver to our employees: equal pay for comparable work, experience and performance—regardless of gender, race, religion or age. We’re proud to continue the practices that have created our fair and equitable workplace.


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 and helps improve health care conditions and costs for participants. Each month, YHM features trending nutrition, fitness, mental well-being and preventive care content to help employees pursue their wellness goals. Our health initiatives focus on engaging participants using cutting-edge technology and converting awareness into action through behavior-based marketing communications. Examples include:


  • Your Health Matters Champions: Champions are a network of more than 4,700 employee ambassadors who are passionate about promoting a culture of health and wellness at AT&T. YHM introduced Grab & Go Activities in 2015 to enable Champions to easily organize wellness-related activities with their colleagues, such as hydration challenges and 5K walks/runs. For the roll-out events, Champions receive promotional materials—including T-shirts, flyers, email templates and more—to get their colleagues engaged.
  • Communications: The YHM employee online community provides an internal online forum for employees to talk about healthy living, share their tips, successes and challenges, and receive motivation to start or maintain their health goals. With more than 43,000 members, the YHM community is the largest voluntary community within the company. Employees have also voted it the Most Valuable tSpace community 4 years in a row. YHM houses educational resources promoting key areas of focus such as mental well-being, fitness, nutrition and preventive care. For instance, in May 2017, YHM hosted its 4th mental health well-being campaign in 45 locations all over the country. During the campaign, more than 11,000 employees pledged to “Stamp Out the Stigma” associated with mental health. AT&T donated $1 for every pledge, up to $10,000, to Mental Health America. The Champions provided mental health well-being materials and encouraged colleagues to pledge.
  • Employee Challenges: YHM also hosts employee challenges to increase engagement and excitement about the program. In 2017, YHM hosted a ‘squash your squats’ challenge that garnered nearly 75,000 blog views and was the most popular employee challenge to date. Other examples include the ‘Planksgiving’ plank challenge and ‘Paint Your Plate’ to help educate employees on healthy eating guidelines.


We are honored that these efforts yielded recognition in 2017 by The National Business Group on Health with the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Silver Award and by the American Heart Association with the Workplace Health Solutions Silver Award.

Union Relationships

With about 46% 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 2 dozen union contracts. In 2017, we completed 7 agreements with the CWA and IBEW, covering approximately 40,000 employees. Recent agreements are proof that, even during challenging economic times, the company and unions can work together to provide and protect high-quality middle-class careers—jobs with competitive wages and benefits that are among the best in the country.

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 such as the Aspire Mentoring Academy, which engages AT&T employees to mentor underserved middle and high school students. Do One Thing (DOT), our voluntary, company-wide effort, also 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.


Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all employees—it’s an essential aspect of our Environment, Health and Safety 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. To learn more, visit our Environment, Health and Safety issue brief.

Supporting Our Troops

When we say we support veterans and their families—we mean it. At AT&T, veteran hiring isn’t something we do to meet a target, it’s something we do because it’s good for veterans and good for our business. We remain dedicated to supporting active military personnel, their families and military veterans. Learn more about our AT&T military support in the Supporting Our Troops issue brief.

Updated on: Nov 20, 2018