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Workforce Diversity

Materiality Assessment Topics: Employee diversity | Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosure: GRI 102-8

Issue Summary

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

Our Position

The success of our 142-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

2017 Key Performance Indicators
  • Total U.S. workforce diversity: 31% women; 43% people of color
  • Total U.S. management diversity: 35% women; 37% people of color
  • Total U.S. workforce retention rate: 85% overall; 82% women; 84% people of color
  • Total employee members of an Employee Resource Group/Employee Network: 133K+

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 dozens of awards for our diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices and accomplishments from outside organizations. For example, in 2018 and for the 2nd year in a row, FORTUNE magazine named AT&T as 1 of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. This recognition speaks to our company’s commitment to our employees and dedication to our mission and values, as determined by FORTUNE and global research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work.

And in addition to the efforts highlighted below, we are committed to continually re-examining and strengthening our D&I practices. For complete information, visit our Diversity and Inclusion page.

Workforce Inclusion

At AT&T, our commitment to full inclusion is an essential part of our success in today's market. AT&T is a company that is inclusive of all backgrounds, races, genders, ages, disabilities and sexual orientations. The more ideas and knowledge we have, the better solutions we can develop for our customers. Our goal is to promote diversity, inclusiveness and opportunities for employees to flourish.

We engage people with disabilities through targeted automatic recruitment advertising, attendance at disability career events and engagement with professional associations at the national and grassroots levels. Our website is designed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We also use our webpage to highlight individuals with disabilities working at AT&T. Career videos are closed captioned in English and Spanish, and we offer accommodations to job seekers for every step in the application process.

Various AT&T business units connect their respective recruitment strategies with AT&T disability initiatives and programs to provide their employees with the resources and tools needed to do their job.

Diversity Councils

AT&T also convenes several councils across the company 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 our 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: Chaired by the vice president of diversity and inclusion, this counsil brings together representatives from each business unit quarterly to discuss diversity awareness building initiatives and share best practices, both internal and external.
  • Joint Diversity Council: This council is comprised of the national presidents of our 12 employee resource groups (ERGs), who 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.


Hiring & Development Programs

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 2017, our intern program included 45% women and 56% people of color, and 46% were women of color. Among new college hires, 27% were women of color.

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


  • Leadership Development Program (LDP), which targets primarily MBA grads.
  • Executive Advocate Program, which enhances 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.
  • Accelerated Development Program (ADP), which is designed to accelerate the professional development of mid-level AT&T managers.
  • Lift & Connect, our newest development program which began in 2017 and consists of 150 high-performing women leaders, including 51% people of color.


With the exception of the all-female Executive Women’s Leadership Experience, each of our development programs average 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 our bottom line. TU also partners with our D&I team to develop training courses to highlight the business case for diversity and to help employees identify and eliminate unconscious biases.

As of the end of 2017, our U.S. workforce is 31% female and 43% people of color. Women are 35% of our managers and 37% of our managers are people of color. Management consists of 44% of our workforce and 56% represent our front line employees. In 2017, the retention rate for all women at AT&T was 82%, while the retention rate for people of color was 84%.

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 many diverse employee resource groups and employee networks, with total membership topping 133,000.


We have 12 ERGs that are open to all employees, and they reflect the diversity of our workforce. The groups include representation for women, Black/African Americans, Asian & Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, employees with disabilities, LGBTQ employees, 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.

Ability (formerly IDEAL), 1 of our Employee Resource Groups, helps enhance the understanding, awareness and resolution of the challenges facing individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Ability focuses on making technology accessible to the disability community and understands that universal design ensures overall business success.

In collaboration with our Ability ERG, AT&T completed several social media campaigns to help position our company as an employer of choice for the disability community. We also attended career fairs and sponsored disability events where we showcased our products and services.

The combined ERGs in 2017 accounted for more than 388,000 volunteer hours and granted more than $882,000 in scholarships.

In September 2017, AT&T held its 9th-annual National ERG Conference, in which nearly 2,000 members paid their own lodging and airfare to attend, with an additional 2,000 watching online. Nearly 200 leaders attended the conference, with more than 110 participating in a panel or fireside chat.

The annual ERG conference also recognizes our Champions of Diversity of the past year. The program honors general managers whose role model behavior supports our D&I values and our employee resource groups and employee networks. Selections are determined by a corporate diversity team that includes our Chairman and our 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.

Our ERGs also received a number of awards in 2017, including:


  • DiversityInc ranked AT&T’s ERGs No. 3 on its Top 12 Companies for ERGs list, as part of our 2017 overall No. 3 ranking among its Top 50 Companies for Diversity
  • LATINA Style magazine selected HACEMOS as 1 of the Top 15 Employee Resource Group of the Year for 2017
  • Association of ERG & Councils ranked InspirASIAN No. 12 of the 2017 Top 25 Employee Resource Groups and Diversity Councils



We also have 12 Employee Networks (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 non-profit 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 3 ENs in the past 2 years, including 2 in 2016: AT&T Professional Engineers and Pulse of India and 1 in 2017: AT&T Women of Business. Of the 12 total ENs, 7 are international and 5 are domestic, with 6 primarily focused on women’s professional development. In 2017, employee network members accounted for 24,034 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 customer service reps, at more than 20 call centers and in more than 800 company-owned retail stores, who can help customers in languages other than English.
  • Our call centers provide customer support in more than 160 languages.
  • 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 7 languages other than English, for distribution by organizations helping promote the program.


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 our workforce diversity, visit the AT&T Diversity website at

Key Awards

In fostering diversity and inclusion, AT&T has received numerous awards, including the following:


  • 2018 Fortune Magazine, 100 Best Companies to Work For, No. 100
  • 2018 NAFE Top Company for Executive Women
  • 2017 DiversityInc
    • Top 50 Companies for Diversity, No. 3
    • Top Companies for Recruitment, No. 1
    • Top Companies for Supplier Diversity, No. 2
    • Top Companies for Veterans, No. 4
    • Top Companies for ERGs, No. 3
    • Top Companies for Mentoring, No. 8
    • Top Companies for Diversity Councils, No. 12
    • Top Companies for LGBT, Named
  • CAREERS & the disABLED Top 50 Employers, No. 6
  • 2017 Fortune and Great Place to Work™, Best Workplaces for Diversity, No. 40
  • 2017 Black Enterprise, Best Companies for Diversity
  • 2017 Hispanicize Wire, Top 25 Hispanicize Silicon Valley Ranking, No. 1
  • 2017 Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index, 100% for the 6th year in a row
  • 2017 STEM Workforce Diversity Magazine, Top 50 Employer List, No.14
  • 2017 Diversity MBA, 50 Out Front Companies for Diverse & Women Managers, No.3
  • 2017 Minority Engineer Magazine, Top 50 Employers, No. 9
  • 2017 Minority Engineer Magazine, Disability Equality Index, 100%
  • 2017 CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine, Top 50 Employer of the Year
  • 2017 National Business Inclusion, Consortium Best-of-the-Best Corporation list
  • 2017 DIVERSEability Magazine, Top Disability-Friendly Company
  • 2017 U.S. Business Leadership Network, 100% score
  • 2017 National Organization on Disability Employer SEAL


To see our full list of awards, visit our Diversity Awards and Recognition page.

Updated on: Nov 20, 2018