Our approach to gender balance

Our ambition is to be recognised as the leading employer in the defence and security sectors for valuing diversity, equity 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, equity and inclusion.
Our business relies on people who have a STEM background which traditionally appeal to more men than women, indeed only 22% of our global workforce is female.
There is a historical systemic issue relating to the number of women in engineering roles within the industry. Traditionally girls do not take STEM subjects at school and university to the same extent as men, which in turn sees reduced numbers applying for engineering or other STEM type job roles. This has created an imbalance here at BAE Systems and across our industry as a whole. That’s why we’re taking action to address the issue as a company and also partnering with other businesses and industry associations to tackle it systemically. We’ve developed programmes starting with education outreach work at school level, through to encouraging women into entry level positions and supporting them throughout their careers.

We continue to work hard to improve our gender balance and remain steadfast in our commitment to redress the gender balance within our business by increasing the number of women in senior levels and attracting and retaining women throughout all levels of the business.

Women in engineering

We’re aiming to create a gender balance across all levels and specifically to increase the number of women in engineering roles.
We tackle the issue at three stages: education, early careers, and senior level roles – providing support at key life stages for women, such as when they leave the business to have children and when they return. Working with education providers, we support STEM education and skills development in schools across the UK, with a focus on encouraging a greater take up of STEM subjects. Our education programmes are designed to challenge stereotypes and excite young people about careers in science and engineering, with the hope that some of them will join us for their early careers.
In the UK BAE Systems was one of the 50 founding signatories of the ‘Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter’ and the ‘Women in Defence Charter’. The Charters commit the UK’s aerospace and defence sectors to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry for women. We have also signed the charter for 'Women in Maritime' which similarly pledges to increase the number of women in the sector and create an environment for women to realise their aspirations.
Our maternity and shared parental leave policies are competitive. We want to support our employees in the best way we can, which also extends to adoption leave and special leave – this may be for a whole range of reasons, such as being a reservist or caring for a family member. Returning to work after having children is also a key focus for us and we want to create a working pattern and adopt flexible and agile approaches that suit our employees’ needs, whilst continuing to support the business. We offer all women returning to work after having children the option to work part-time for the first three months and we also offer alternative working patterns, for example, flexi hours, part-time, term-time, remote working and job sharing. We also offer flexible working options to accommodate employees' individual circumstances, including alternative working patterns.

UK Gender pay gap

The regulations for gender pay gap reporting for UK companies are intended to encourage employers to take informed action to close their gender pay gaps where one exists. The gender pay gap shows the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women across the workforce and is, to a large extent, a reflection of the representation of women in the workforce. It’s not the same as equal pay which refers to men and women receiving the same pay for the same job.
We report each year on our Gender Pay Gap and progress to reduce it, and we have published our fifth annual gender pay gap report in line with UK regulations  For 2021, the average gender pay gap for our UK workforce was 8.7% (2020 9.1%), which is lower than the current UK national average of 16.1%. 

UK Gender Pay Gap reports

2021 Report

Front cover of Gender pay gap report 2021

2020 Report

Front cover of Gender pay gap 2020

2019 Report

Front cover of Gender pay gap 2019

2018 Report

Image of BAE Systems employee

2017 Report

Image of employee at Eurofighter Typhoon assembly facility
*29 March 2019:  We have identified that some of the percentages of male and female employees across our pay quartiles were calculated incorrectly.  This has resulted in some minor revisions being made to the pay quartile data in our 2017 and 2018 reports.

Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index Member

Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index Member
BAE Systems joins 484 other companies as a member of the 2023 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which is developed to gauge the performance of public companies dedicated to reporting gender-related data. The GEI measures gender equality across five pillars: leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, anti-sexual harassment policies, and external brand. Companies on the 2023 GEI represent 45 countries and regions and a variety of sectors, including financials, technology and utilities.