The AT&T Issue Brief Library

Our issue briefs provide a summary of key topics. 

 

Our Workforce

Stakeholder Engagement Topics: Employee compensation and benefits; Employee diversity; Freedom of association; Investing in employees; Work-life balance and healthy lifestyles | Global Reporting Initiative Standard Disclosures: 102-8; 102-41; 404-1; 404-2; 404-3; Investing in employees MA

Issue Summary

Good jobs are foundational to economic wellbeing and mobility. Wages and compensation, employee engagement 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.

2018 Key Performance Indicators
  • Total number of employees1264,656 
  • Number of U.S. part-time employees26,080 
  • Average age of employees244 
  • Total U.S. workforce diversity132.7% women; 43.8% people of color 
  • Total U.S. management diversity136.6% women; 38.3% people of color 
  • Percentage of union-represented employees: 40% 
  • Number of employees, retirees and dependents afforded health and welfare benefits: 1.1M 
  • Amount invested in direct employee training and development programs: $200M 
  • Number of hours spent on employee training: 16M 
  • Amount invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees: $24M

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 59 countries.1

Our employees make AT&T a great place to work as they deliver incredible technology, media and telecommunications services to millions of consumers and businesses every day. In return, we invest in their continuous development and welcome their innovative ideas. In 2018, AT&T was named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the 2nd year in a row. We work to foster a culture in which anyone can achieve their fullest potential.

Diversity & Inclusion

At AT&T, success begins with our diverse and inclusive workforce — a product of our deliberate effort to create a culture in which all employees have the opportunity to learn and grow. We have a history of promoting diversity. Nearly 50 years ago, we were a leader in developing our supplier diversity program. And in 1975, AT&T became one of the first major American corporations to adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation.

We convene several councils to drive awareness and employee engagement in diversity and inclusion, including:

  • Chairman’s Diversity Council
  • Senior Executive Diversity Council
  • Business Unit Diversity Council
  • Chief Diversity Officer’s Forum
  • Joint Diversity Council

As a company with a global presence, we take seriously our responsibility to strengthen and support all forms of diversity in the communities where we operate. That’s why AT&T is proud to endorse the United Nations (UN) Standards of Conduct for Business. The UN Standards offer a holistic framework of best practices for businesses to help combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. With this pledge, we join the UN and hundreds of companies representing a wide variety of industries in expressing our commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights around the world.

WarnerMedia companies, Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, have long been committed to diversity and inclusion as moral and business imperatives. It is essential that our content and creative partners reflect the diversity of our society and the world around us. Together with other production companies, networks, guilds, unions, talent agencies and others in the industry, we all must ensure there is greater inclusion of women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, those with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in greater numbers both in front of and behind the camera.

To learn more about our diversity and inclusion initiatives, please visit our Diversity & Inclusion website.

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.

EMPLOYEE GROUPS 

Our employee groups represent the diverse dimensions of our workforce — women, Black/African-American employees, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latino employees, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ employees, employees with disabilities, veterans, parents — and individuals with similar professional interests such as engineering, project management and media & entertainment technology. And since we’re all about inclusion, each group is open to employees who identify with that community and their allies. Before merging, AT&T Communications, Xandr and WarnerMedia each had robust rosters of employee groups. Together, we now have 58 employee groups tailored to however our employees identify or whatever they are interested in.

AT&T Communications has 12 employee resource groups (ERGs) and 13 employee networks (ENs). Through these organizations, members grow professionally and personally, help the company achieve its annual goals and serve people in their communities. They also, with every program and service, reflect AT&T values such as Inspire Imagination, Pursue Excellence and Make a Difference. AT&T Communications’ ERGs are formal non-profit organizations and open to all employees. The groups include representation for women, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, military veterans, young professionals and experienced career professionals.

AT&T Communications’ ENs also are open to all employees and, like the ERGs, are created and managed by our workforce. Organized around cross-functional diversity, ENs generally focus on specific business or professional development issues. Of the 13 ENs, 6 are U.S.-based and 7 are international.

WarnerMedia boasts several employee and business resource groups (BRGs), including 7 HBO ERGs, 9 Warner Bros. BRGs and 10 Turner BRGs. Likewise, Xandr supports 6 affinity groups.

For more information about our employee groups, read our Diversity & Inclusion report.

VETERAN HIRING INITIATIVE

AT&T has committed to hiring more than 20,000 veterans and their family members between 2013 and 2020. Through 2018, we have hired 17,500 employees toward that goal. As we look past 2020, we remain committed to supporting our nation’s heroes and pursuing programs and efforts to support veterans and their families. In support of our hiring needs, we will guarantee an interview to each veteran applicant who completes an AT&T-supported upskilling program and/or meets all requirements for a posted position. 

Future Ready

We’ve evolved from a telephone company to a mobility company and now to an integrated media and communications company. Future Ready is our plan to continue to transform our workforce and help them develop the skills that we’ll need today and in the future. The program focuses on 4 main areas:

  1. Equipping and reskilling employees
  2. Attracting critical talent
  3. Fostering high engagement
  4. Evolving compensation plans

These focus areas encompass a wide range of initiatives, including personalized training, mentoring and career development programs offered through our award-winning internal training organization, AT&T University.

Training & Career Development

In 2018, we invested about $200 million in direct employee training and professional development programs. We’re recognized as a leader in career development because of this investment. As we work to inspire a culture of continuous learning, we have training designed for all employees throughout their career: new hire training, continuous training for a current role and skills transformation training for a potential future role.

During 2018, 100% of employees with at least 3 months of service were eligible for a formal performance appraisal and review. While we do not track the frequency of career development discussions, supervisors are encouraged to have continuous feedback discussions at least once a month and a career discussion once a year, which may or may not occur during a formal review. Career discussions with employees may focus on short- or long-term career planning.

Our culture promotes open feedback through the AT&T Performance Development process, where employees and supervisors are encouraged to have regular conversations throughout the year and all employees are encouraged to give and request feedback.

TALENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 

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

AT&T Career Development Resource Center 

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

Continuing Skills Training

Thousands of courses are available to employees across the globe, including courses tailored to our consumer call center and retail sales, business call center and direct sales, network engineering and direct sales, and network employees. We delivered an average of more than 75 hours of training per employee in 2018, or about 16 million total hours.

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 energizing our workforce to drive innovation. TU’s flagship program, Leading with Distinction (LWD), is redesigned each year to support our top corporate priorities and now reaches all AT&T managers.

TU includes training in leadership skills, health and wellness, and other corporate initiatives that cover C-suite to frontline employees. Through multiple innovative mediums, we offer more than 200 leadership and career courses, including partnerships with Harvard University and other esteemed learning institutions. TU delivers content year-round through custom-built mobile learning applications, including the LWD Go App, and LWD 365, our weekly micro-learning series with more than 70,000 weekly subscribers and more than 700,000 views annually.

Training Focused on CSR 

TU offers a Learning Design for Sustainability training. The world is facing several environmental, economic and social challenges. Our future depends on sustainable solutions that improve our lives and designers have a unique role to play in the way forward. This course explores the tools, resources and best practices of sustainable design, covering the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment and services to comply with the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability.

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 2018, $24 million was invested in tuition assistance for both management and non-management employees. Nearly 6,000 employees participated in the tuition reimbursement program.

Turner Programming

Turner offers specialized training for employees around the globe to help understand unconscious bias — one of diversity's toughest challenges. We also launched provocative training for hiring managers to reinvigorate our hiring and selection approach to ensure we are bringing new ideas, perspectives and experiences to teams across the company. Additionally, Turner’s Make You Matter Weeks are week-long series of classes, workshops, and special events that invest in our global employees’ personal and professional development and help them continue to grow.

SKILLS TRANSFORMATION 

AT&T monitors training through an online platform called the Personal Learning Experience, where all online training booked, started and completed is logged for every employee. Of the approximately 16 million hours of training recorded in 2018, 2 million hours covered skills transformation. As of 2018, almost 60% of AT&T management employees have enrolled in reskilling programs provided or subsidized by the company.

We work with external organizations — such as Georgia Tech and Udacity — to help create additional opportunities both for our employees and for the public. These programs lead to degrees or certifications in specialized fields.


Additional examples of AT&T collaborations with public and private universities include:

  • Georgia Tech — Master of science in analytics
  • University of Oklahoma — Master of science in data science & analytics
  • Notre Dame — Master of science in data science
  • North Carolina A&T State University (1st partnership with a historically black college & university)
    • Master of business administration
    • Master of science in information technology
    • Master of science in technology management
  • Champlain College — Bachelor of science in cybersecurity

Learn more about how we’re powering career skills through AT&T Aspire.

Compensation & Benefits 

AT&T offers 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. In 2018, 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 — we are helping employees plan for their retirement. Employees can save toward retirement through employer-sponsored benefit plans. All full-time employees are eligible for a 401(k) savings plan with a generous company match.

AT&T sponsors a number of savings plans with about $45 billion in assets. In 2018, employees contributed more than $1.5 billion to our savings plans, and the company matched nearly $800 million. As participants in the AT&T savings plans, 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 participants have access to an investment advisory service with 2 levels of service: free online tools or fee-based professional account management with an advisor.

Through our 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.

We offer a broad selection of benefits geared toward certain life events, including adoption, elder care, child care, 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 the new addition to their family. AT&T also offers 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. Our employees are also eligible for employee discounts on AT&T-branded products and services where available.

AT&T offers a flexible spending account that eligible employees may use for eligible child care and adult care expenses. Our CarePlus supplemental benefit program covers temporary care of a dependent family member who is ill or disabled, and in need of continuous home care by a trained personal care assistant, for up to 5 days per year in order to provide relief for permanent caregivers.                    

AT&T provides child care benefits/services to our employees through LifeCare, the administrator for our Work/Life program. LifeCare provides educational materials, personalized referrals, phone consultations and an interactive website to assist with any life need, including but not limited to:

  • Child care options
  • Pregnancy and adoption
  • Parenting
  • Special needs
  • Education and schooling
  • Senior care options
  • Caregiving
  • Senior health and safety
  • Financial and legal issues
  • Wellness
  • Pet care, home improvement and more

LifeCare offers discounts for child care centers, senior care, fitness clubs and more. It also offers free kits containing products and information to help members manage important life milestones:

  • Prenatal Kit containing a diaper bag, medicine dropper, Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care and more, including educational materials.
  • Child Safety Kit with a night light, wipe-off board, travel first-aid kit, outlet plug covers and more, including educational materials.
  • Adult Care Kit including a medical information storage kit, wallet medications list/card, pill organizer and more, including educational materials.

To view more details about our benefits, visit our careers website.

Well-Being

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.

Employees can receive incentives for living healthy lifestyles or by filling out a health questionnaire. Employee engagement and participation in healthy awareness campaigns can also result in incentives, including T-shirts, headphones, yoga mats and activity tracking devices.

Union Relationship 

With 40% union-represented employees, we have one of the largest full-time union-represented workforces 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. Since 2017, we have reached 12 fair labor agreements covering more than 70,000 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. Please see the AT&T Bargaining website for additional details.

Employee Engagement 

Our employees reflect our corporate culture, and their engagement is a key component of our approach to corporate community engagement efforts. Through our wide collection of corporate community engagement opportunities, employees can give their time or money, or make other personal commitments to their communities. We offer company-sponsored activities and support for both teams and individuals. For more information, visit our Community Engagement issue brief.

Safety 

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. To learn more, visit our Environment, Health & Safety Compliance issue brief.

 

Since the acquisition of WarnerMedia in June 2018 and the launch of Xandr in September 2018, we are continuing to integrate operationally and through our CSR reporting. For this reason, information for these 2 affiliates is not included in this brief, except where specifically referenced.

1Inclusive of WarnerMedia and Xandr.

2Inclusive of Xandr.

Updated on: May 30, 2019

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