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Investing in our people at BAE Systems

We are building strategic workforce planning into our Integrated Business Planning processes to ensure our plans take account of the people, skills, technology and facilities we will need to deliver our future plans.

We encourage all employees to evolve their skills to meet our customers’ current and future requirements, supporting them through career frameworks, online and face-to-face training and development programmes.

We look to draw people from a wide range of backgrounds to bring diversity of experience and thinking to our teams. We offer award-winning apprenticeship and graduate programmes to bring fresh talent into our business and help individuals develop skills for a fulfilling career. In 2019 we recruited over 700 apprentices in the UK – one of our highest intakes in recent years. We have 500 graduate scheme members in the UK and 68 undergraduate students on a 12-month industrial placement, and in 2019, we hosted 140 summer interns. In the US we supported 773 intern positions in 2019 and had 90 participants in the US apprenticeship programme, resulting in 43 full-time hires.

In the US we recruit diverse talent from top universities to join our functional leadership development programmes in areas such as engineering, manufacturing and finance. These programmes are designed to provide the training and rotational experiences needed to keep our early-career talent engaged and our most mission-critical functions strong.

Training and development

We encourage all employees to evolve their skills to meet our customers’ current and future requirements, supporting them through career frameworks, online and face to face training and development programmes.

Employees are encouraged to meet with their managers regularly to plan their career development and identify skills and training opportunities that will help them achieve their goals.

Employees can access programmes that blend e-learning, classroom training and partnerships with academic institutions. We also enable employees to transfer appropriate skills across different areas of the Group.

We offer support to first time people managers in order to maintain a consistent leadership style across BAE Systems, creating an empowering and inclusive culture where all employees are able to develop to deliver their best performance.  

Mandatory training is required to be undertaken by all employees to cover essential areas of how we do business, such as our Code of Conduct and Integrity in Business Dealings.

We continuously look for new ways to develop our employees. By utilising online and virtual development tools or on the job training through ‘stretch projects’, we aim to make training and development opportunities accessible and inclusive to all employees.

Performance and reward

We provide our employees with a reward package that is competitive in their local market and which reflects their individual job responsibilities and contribution to business performance. In addition to learning and career progression opportunities, we offer a broad spectrum of plans and programmes which are balanced, appropriate to geographic location and locally market competitive.

Employee performance is managed by placing equal focus on both ‘what’ work is done and ‘how’ it is done. The ‘what’ is determined by objectives set and jointly agreed with the employees’ line manager at the start of the calendar year. The objectives should align to the Company strategic objectives, be specific, measurable and stretching beyond day-to-day tasks. For line leaders and above, ‘how’ work is to be achieved is set by agreeing role-level expectations against the eight BAE Systems behaviours: Strategic Vision; Creativity; Adaptability; Collaboration; Develops People; Integrity; Courage; and Inspiration.

All  employees have access to a 360 degree feedback tool to help identify development needs and inform performance feedback conversations, however, performance ratings and the resulting reward are not always necessarily linked to this. 

Each employee should have ongoing performance conversations with their manager to review progress and receive quality, real-time feedback on performance. These conversations support the more structured mid-year review and end-of-year performance review. The end-of-year performance conversation will determine the extent that the employee has met their objectives and this will result in an overall performance rating for the year. For our line leaders and above, the end-of-year performance review will also include ‘how’ they have achieved their work relative to the BAE Systems behaviours.

Flexible working

BAE Systems understands the requirement of a good work-life balance, which is why we offer a number of flexible working opportunities. Along with competitive maternity and paternity leave, we offer shared parental leave, adoption leave and childcare vouchers aiming to provide parents with the support they need.

We also offer a range of flexible working options to others who need it, whether that’s to care for an elderly relative or for childcare responsibilities. This can consist of part-time working, career breaks or working from home.

It’s important to us to enable our employees to develop their skills in other, often voluntary arrangements, too.  We have a UK Special Leave policy specifically for this, with some employees getting involved in long term voluntary positions, such as reserve positions with the armed forces. 

The Chairman’s Awards

We’re proud of our people and truly believe they are the key to our success. 

One of the ways we recognise and reward our employees is via our annual Chairman’s Awards – a global scheme that celebrates the outstanding achievements of our most talented teams and individuals.  

Established in 1996, the awards span three categories; Embracing Responsible Behaviour, Exceeding Customer Expectations and Innovating for Success.

It’s a competitive process - judged by panels across the business – with recognition awarded across three levels:


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