Overview

Over the last few years, events beyond BT have shone a spotlight on the need for businesses to do more to tackle workplace and societal inequalities.

In 2017, the #metoo social campaign encouraged the reporting of and open conversations about sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement galvanized businesses to take tangible action to amplify the collective voice of their Black colleagues and customers and the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted health and economic inequalities and increased societal awareness about the importance of good mental health. We’ve also seen a growing focus on inclusive design and accessibility, providing improved outcomes and experiences for our disabled colleagues and customers, those who have an impairment or a neurodiverse or long term health condition. However,  we know there is still much more to do.  It’s been an unprecedented period and one in which we’ve doubled our efforts to make BT a truly inclusive business.

We’ve continued our increased investment, focus and commitment on inclusion, super charging the pace and breadth of our focus and accelerating the pace at which we can achieve equality and fairer outcomes for all our colleagues and our customers. We’re unapologetic about our deliberate efforts to embed inclusive practice, language and behaviour across BT because we know doing so is fundamental to the attainment of our purpose – to connect for good.

Philip Jansen
Philip Jansen

My personal commitment to this agenda is resolute. I see it as fundamental to the attainment of our purpose – to connect for good. BT will become a fully inclusive organisation.

Philip Jansen Chief Executive

This is our inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Report. It includes our Gender Pay Gap Report and our Ethnicity Pay Gap Report. In it, we’ll share our D&I strategy, the approach we’re taking to embed equality and fairness in our business, our progress and how we measure up against our targets.

We’ll set out what our priorities will be over the next 12 months and we’ll shine a spotlight on Black inclusion, responding to the renewed global focus on advancing racial equality and outlining our commitment to ensuring all our colleagues feel included at work.

We’ll do this in an open and transparent way, and we’ll cover D&I in its broadest sense.

Downloads

At a glance

People Data Campaign

Our successful People Data Campaign, carried out in the summer of 2020, increased declaration rates across all characteristics. We’re now equipped with a more sophisticated understanding of our colleagues that allows us to identify the different experiences of diverse groups. The increase in ethnicity declaration rates, from 65% to 78%, enabled us to carry out our first Ethnicity Pay Gap report.

Male colleague laughing
Male colleague laughing

78%

Ethnicity declaration rate, an increase from our previous rate of 65%

Valuable 500

We’re proud signatories of the Valuable 500, supporting a global movement to put disability on the business leadership agenda, specifically ensuring that disability inclusion is on our board agenda.

Ethnicity Pay Gap

We’ve undertaken and reported on our first ethnicity pay gap and we have chosen to show how our pay gap looks across each of the ethnicity groups.

Inclusive Design Training

We’ve launched our online inclusive design training, upskilling colleagues to embed an inclusive design approach during the lifecycle of any project by introducing the concept of the social model of disability and the importance of end-user engagement.

Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan

To accelerate the pace of race equality, we introduced our Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan (ERAP), which promises swift action, regular updates and maximum transparency. We’re making excellent progress across all four ERAP workstreams.

Male colleague working on a laptop
Male colleague working on a laptop

Race Awareness Training

We’re delivering on our public commitment to deliver immersive training to enhance race awareness, introducing a new programme of mandatory race awareness training for everyone in BT. Our online training is supported by guidance, recognising local issues, and providing support to help managers champion diversity in their areas and challenge racism where it exists.

Gender Pay Gap

Our focus on evidence-based inclusion interventions has enabled us to ensure that our gender pay gap and quartiles figures remain stable and very similar to previous years – mean 4.9% and median 5.0%. Our pay gaps remain low, providing some assurance, but we’re not complacent as we continue our work to progress gender equality.

4.9%

mean

5.0%

median

Female colleague wearing a pink top
Female colleague wearing a pink top

Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy

We introduced clear lines of accountability and robust governance. During 2020, we reaffirmed our strong commitment to the D&I agenda and we agreed the roles and responsibilities of colleagues, making them even more accountable. The central D&I team provide subject matter expertise through a Centre of Excellence and by partnering with the business, ensuring that programme owners are equipped to deliver.

Five clear priorities

  • A gender-balanced and representative workforce that reflects the different regions in which BT works and consistently future proofs with strategic workforce planning. Internationally recognised diverse graduate scheme and UK recognised apprenticeship schemes.

  • Inclusive, innovative culture where people feel respected, engaged and able to speak out and this translates into innovative inclusive design for customers – creating differentiation for BT.

  • A best practice inclusive design approach is embedded into our policies, practices and offerings for all our people and customers.

  • We’re encouraging all our communities to access learning and development opportunities, widening access and participation rates, proactively using digital technology to connect for good and actively removing barriers to learning to ensure fairness and inclusion. 

    This is essential, for our business and nation, now and in the future.

  • Strong external reputation for leading the agenda through bold action, research, influencing others in industry and sharing best practice.

Inclusion by design
Inclusion by design

D&I at BT

An evidence-based approach

Many inclusion interventions have been tried throughout history with varied success. Some have focused specifically on a strand of diversity; others have considered intersectionality and the broadest spectrum of diversity. Some have focused on short-term, tactical initiatives; others have had a longer-term vision where the benefits may not yet have been realised.

Our approach is simple. We use the richness of our data to give us an increased awareness and an accurate understanding of the issue we’re responding to. And we’re really clear about one thing: we’re not fixing people; we’re addressing any bias that may exist in processes and in our decision making.

Roadmap

Highlights of our diversity and inclusion journey

Highlights of our diversity and inclusion journey from 1880 to 2021
Highlights of our diversity and inclusion journey from 1880 to 2021

Taking rapid action
Taking rapid action

Ethnicity Pay Gap Report

Ethnicity and Black inclusion

Two engineers working at a fibre box
Two engineers working at a fibre box

Racial injustice has no place at BT. During 2020, and set within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, we strengthened our existing commitment to tackling racial injustice.

We remain open and transparent about our approach and, whilst we’ve made great progress, we know we’ve much more to do.

Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan

We created our first Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan (ERAP) and associated workstreams to accelerate the pace of change. We also took measures to build transparency and accountability into the reporting framework.

We promised swift action, regular updates and maximum transparency against the following four commitments.

Case study – ERAP activities

Supporting BT’s partnership with the Aleto Foundation, to co-deliver a three day virtual leadership programme for 100 UK graduates from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Hosting a roundtable conversation on the need to improve the volume of diverse talent within BT, culminating in a four-year extension of the Aleto partnership.

EDN Committee members continue to informally mentor and give support and advice to Black and ethnic minority colleagues throughout the year. 

Created a series of videos under the campaign header #letsgetuncomfortable where colleagues shared their experiences of subtle racism and micro-aggressions, to educate colleagues and open conversations about race and ethnicity.

This included a closed, facilitated session with Alison Wilcox, BT’s Group HR Director for colleagues to share their experiences of micro-aggressions and racism.

We actively collaborated and supported senior leaders by giving our feedback on the ITT process for the ERAP mandatory race training. This included being part of the pilot training workshop and providing our feedback, so that it could be incorporated into the final version of the training.

Arranged eight different events to celebrate Black History Month and successfully raised funds for the ACLT charity, promoting the awareness of organ donations and blood donations.

Supported the reverse mentoring programme, by creating videos about the programme as well as reviewing and providing feedback to senior leaders about the application process, colleague communications and selection process.

Hosted a Black Lives Matter open conversation with the chief executive and senior leaders.

Worked together with Colleague Board and BT Americas colleagues and supported the set-up of the EDN Americas chapter.

Supported ethnically diverse colleagues through COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter by hosting bi-weekly EDN virtual lunches with a range of guest speakers, collaborating with our group diversity and inclusion team to create wellbeing materials to support BT colleagues’ mental health.

Collaborated with BT’s People Networks and made a number of recommendations, all of which were approved, for change to the social media policy to ensure inappropriate and offensive comments were quickly and robustly dealt with.

Supported BT’s People Data Campaign, #thisisme, with a sub-campaign, #IDeclareBecause, encouraging colleagues to share a personal video message on the importance of declaring diversity information. BT saw a +14% increase in colleagues sharing their ethnicity data with the business and as a result of this improved data BT was able to undertake its first ethnicity pay gap report.

Diverse talent
Diverse talent

Gender Pay Gap Report

Broadening gender equality

We know that we must broaden the scope for gender equality – removing binary definitions, ensuring that all genders are represented in our workforce, breaking down gender stereotypes in order to create workplace environments where all our colleagues can thrive. Our Gender Equality Network (GEN), one of our ten People Networks, partners across the business to support our gender equality interventions, helping us to connect with colleagues and providing engagement opportunities that help us better understand the issues that our colleagues face.

At BT, we’re not only committed to removing any gender pay gap, but we’re proactively accelerating the pace on how we achieve this.

Alison Wilcox Group HR Director

Broadening the scope of gender equality
- partnering with our Gender Equality Network

Colleague walking down stairs while using mobile phone
Colleague walking down stairs while using mobile phone

The issue - Gender equality is all too often thought of as an issue affecting only women. The Gender Equality Network, supported by the business, used International Men’s Day to highlight that gender equality affects all genders and to start a discussion about flexible working and caring responsibilities for men, men’s health and breaking cultural stereotypes of masculinity.

What we did – In supporting the business reflects all aspects of the diverse societies in which we operate, we held a group-wide, open-to-all online event that explored the question “What Does It Mean To Be A Man In 2020?”. This event encouraged the exploration of gender as a social construct, the negative impacts of gender stereotypes and the importance of gender equality allies. 

The panel included speakers from The Good Lad Initiative and Music Football Fatherhood as well as representatives from BT’s Pride, Armed Forces, Carers and Ethnic Diversity Networks.

Anasol Pena-Rios

TechWomen

Our TechWomen programme continues to help women in key commercial, operational and technical roles develop their careers – from those starting out to those further along the career path. Last year, 95% of those completing the course said they felt confident driving their career.

Woman wearing orange top using a tablet

Tech Talent Charter

We continue to be signatories of the Tech Talent Charter and are committed to increasing inclusion and diversity within our tech workforce by collaborating with other signatories to share and learn from best practice examples.

Skills for Tomorrow

By 2026 we’ll empower ten million people by helping them gain the skills they need to flourish in the digital world, inspiring confidence, enhancing understanding, unlocking potential and reducing inequality.

Amelia Winterburn

STEM returners

We continue our focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) returners, as we have since 2016 when we began piloting a 13-week placement for people who had previously worked in STEM careers and wanted to get back into the sector.

Female engineer

Programmes for graduates

We’re in the final year of a five-year partnership with Step into STEM. As part of this, we joined forces with Girls Talk London, which offers career development advice and mentoring to young women.

Pauline Narvas

International Women’s Day

Using International Women’s Day (IWD) as an opportunity to focus our attention on intersectionality, we held a panellist discussion titled, ‘It’s more than gender; how our other identities shape our experiences’.

Broader interventions
Broader interventions

Looking ahead

We’re broadly pleased with the progress we’ve made against our inclusion commitments and against our diversity targets. Our gender and ethnicity pay gaps are lower than the industry average and our leaders and our colleagues remain wholly committed to delivering evidence and research-based interventions that provide long-term, sustainable, transformational culture and inclusion change. We’ll continue to leverage the increased engagement and momentum that the last year has brought.

Colleague with spikey hair cut
Colleague with spikey hair cut

There’s plenty to look forward to. We’re excited about the breadth and depth of the interventions that we’ll deliver in 2021 and beyond. Some will be a build on our existing activity. For example, taking action to increase diversity data completeness through our People Data Campaign. And some, like our Disability Rapid Action Plan, will provide the additional focus and resource that’s needed to accelerate the pace of progress and achieve better outcomes for all our people.

People Data Campaign

Using the learnings from this project, we’ll undertake a scoping and design activity to assess the viability and timescales of delivering the same project on a global scale.

Disability Rapid Action Plan (DRAP)

Following on from the successful design and implementation of our Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan, we’ll replicate this approach for disability.

Targets

We’ll hold ourselves to account. We’ll robustly monitor progress against our 2030 ambitions and workforce diversity targets, and we’ll start to make progress on the additional targets for Senior Leadership Team and Senior Management Team levels across BT.

External benchmarking

During 2021 we’ll review our approach and submission to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index and we’ll continue to support our working carers.

Race Equality Matters

We’re delighted to have become a Lifetime Visionary Partner of Race Equality Matters (REM), a newly formed not-for-profit, community interest company jointly founded by Green Park, The Collaboratory and Black History Month, and supported by a group of minority-owned businesses.

Peer 2 Peer Network global rollout

Our Peer 2 Peer Network is expanding their colleague reach, piloting a growth approach with the Central & Eastern Europe team.

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Blog

Diversity and Inclusion at BT

Jackie Beer, Director of Diversity & Inclusion