Diversity and inclusion

Our ambition is to be recognised as the leading employer in the defence and security sectors for valuing diversity and inclusion. 

We are also ambitious to:

  • Ensure that women make up at least 50% of our Executive Committee by 2030.
  • Increase representation of race, ethnicity and gender in our workforce and across all our localities.


  • In the UK and by 2030 at the latest, our ambition is that more than 30% of our workforce will be women. This includes more women in senior grades and in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths roles.
  • We will continue to define our other ambitions with regards to diversity and inclusion.
Through 2020 we intensified our focus on creating a diverse and inclusive environment in which colleagues from any background can fulfil their potential.
Our Company Behaviours, launched in 2019, build on our organisational strengths and focus us, individually and collectively, on the characteristics that will underpin our success into the future. They define the way we want to work – with each other and with our partners and customers – and are key to creating an inclusive culture in which everyone can thrive. During the pandemic, these Behaviours came to the fore. Qualities such as adaptability, creativity, collaboration and integrity enabled us to meet unprecedented challenges.
During 2020, we have further embedded our Behaviours in our performance management, talent management, recruitment and reward processes as we continue to measure, recognise and reward not just what our people achieve but also how they achieve it.
Our line managers across the world play a key role in inspiring individuals and teams to perform at their best and support them in this ongoing priority. In 2020 we launched a comprehensive new line manager development programme which is being rolled out across our markets outside of the US. This programme and its established equivalents in our US business, help set the specific standards expected of line managers at BAE Systems, supporting them in role-modelling our Company Behaviours to enhance engagement and performance.
Increasing the diversity of our workforce and building diversity and inclusion into our processes, practices, policies, systems and training remains an area of strategic focus for the organisation. We have clear, common objectives focused on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects market availability at all levels of the organisation, and advancing an inclusive workplace where employees feel that their differences are valued.
Our leaders are held accountable for progress against these objectives through targets, measured through robust data analysis of the demographic profile of our workforce. We are working with our employees to obtain data to help us to build a rich picture of our diversity today and set meaningful targets and improvement plans.
2020 gender diversity
2020 age diversity
1. Senior managers are defined as employees (excluding executive directors) who have responsibility for planning, directing or controlling the activities of the Group or a strategically significant part of the Group and/or who are directors of subsidiary companies.
2. Excludes executive directors.
3. Excluding share of equity accounted investments and rounded to the nearest thousand employees.
4. BAE Systems Internal Audit has reviewed and confirmed effective systems, processes and controls are in place to collate and validate this data.
In line with our diversity targets for 2020, we increased female representation across our global workforce by 0.5%. In Saudi Arabia, we met our target to increase female representation in the workforce and launched our two-year fast-track development programme for women, preparing them for senior roles and supporting the country’s Vision 2030. Additionally, BAE Systems, Inc. met its goal to increase representation of both women and people of colour at leadership levels.
Attracting and bringing on board candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences is a key focus of our recruitment practices. In 2020 we launched additional diversity training for recruiting managers in the UK and realigned our recruitment suppliers’ objectives to increase their focus on identifying diverse talent. 
In the UK we ran our first Inclusion Week, inviting all employees to take part in a range of virtual events and discussions with our leaders, to explore others’ experiences and perspectives and understand how we can all build greater inclusion. In the US, the BAE Systems, Inc. senior leadership team participated in VITAL (Valuing Inclusion Through Adaptive Leadership), an immersive development programme designed to enhance cultural competence and build skills to lead inclusive work environments. During 2020, our US businesses also facilitated Courageous Conversations for senior leaders and over 1,000 employees to have honest dialogue about race in the workplace.
In 2020 we broadened and strengthened a number of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which play a vital role in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Our ERGs include: Gender (UK, US, Saudi Arabia and Australia); Veterans (UK, US); Disability (UK, US and Saudi Arabia); Race (UK, US); LGBTQ+ (UK, US); as well as Hispanic/Latino, Black/African American and Asian/Pacific Islanders; and inter-generational ERGs in the US. Over 8,700 employees across our geographically diverse enterprise have signed up to be a member of one of our ERGs.
In response to heightened tensions regarding racial injustice in the US in 2020, BAE Systems, Inc. launched CARE: Colleagues Advancing Racial Equity, bringing together a diverse group of over 130 employees to recommend actions to increase diversity and inclusion in the business.


Pledging our support for Charters, Missions and Taskforces

As part of our drive to increase diversity and inclusion and across our international business, BAE Systems has committed to support a number of projects in areas such as gender, mental health, assistance for veterans and social mobility. Providing opportunities for all employees to thrive in the workplace regardless of their race, gender or background is a vital characteristic for successful and responsible businesses. Learning from other organisations and working together is an important factor in increasing diversity and inclusion throughout the sectors we work in.
BAE Systems has signed a number of Charters and Pledges including:
  • Armed Forces Covenant - we were the first Defence Company to sign up to the UK Armed Forces Covenant, cementing our commitment to supporting those who serve, have served and their families.
  • Movement to Work - we are committed to supporting this project and working together to tackle youth unemployment.
  • Social Mobility Pledge - the pledge asks signatories to partner with schools or colleges, deliver structured work experience and apprenticeships to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It also asks signatories to open employment recruitment practises to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Stonewall Diversity Champion - BAE Systems is a Stonewall Diversity Champion. The Diversity Champions programme is the leading employers' programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are accepted without exception in the workplace. We work closely with Stonewall to ensure we create inclusive and accepting environments for all our UK workforce. 
  • The Valuable 500 - this is a global movement putting disability on the business leadership agenda.
  • Mental Health Commitment - this pledges employers to change the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace
  • Women in Aviation - a pledge for gender balance across aviation and aerospace.
  • Women in Defence - the Women in Defence Charter is a commitment to work together to build a more balanced enterprise across the defence sector.
  • Women in Maritime - over 121 companies in the maritime sector have signed a pledge designed to signal intent on gender diversity.
  • Women in Technology - the Charter is designed to increase diversity within the UK’s tech companies, with the aim of achieving equal opportunity and representation for all employees in the sector.
In Australia BAE Systems supports:
In the US our business supports:
  • American Legion Employment Innovations Taskforce - the USA’s largest veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of programs in communities, as well as continued support of service members and veterans.
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve - a Department of Defense program that promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employer.
  • Veteran Jobs Mission - The mission is a collation of 200 companies that has collectively hired more than 500,000 veterans since 2011.