Working life

More than engineering and defence: how BAE Systems makes a social impact

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

Assessing a future employer goes beyond looking at its core business. BAE Systems aims to make a positive contribution to its communities as it leads with cutting-edge technology and engineering.

BAE Systems' employees litter picking as part of its Keep Scotland Beautiful partnership

BAE Systems has a global reputation among defence customers, so it’s unsurprising that images of highly innovative submarines, jet fighters and aircraft carriers frequently feature alongside the company name. With 72% of BAE Systems employees working in engineering and technology roles, often based in locations proudly at the forefront of British manufacturing for decades, it can be difficult to see what lies beyond the hard edges of the company. Yet BAE Systems puts corporate and social responsibility commitments into the heart of every community it serves, alongside the jobs it creates. From targeting zero emissions and regenerating brownfield sites, to breaking down social inequality and promoting diversity and inclusiveness, here’s how…

Show, don’t tell

Nothing compares to real-life experiences and BAE Systems champions opportunities for young people, offering innovative training programmes aimed at developing skills, which will, in turn, lead to career openings. From inspiring beginnings, like those offered through Blackburn Youth Zone for children aged five and above, to breaking down barriers to education by donating refurbished laptops to under-resourced schoolchildren, the company is committed to finding and nurturing untapped talent. It invested £93 million in skills and education programmes in 2020, targeting 14- to 18-year-olds, including taster weeks for 16- to 18-year-olds.

It also supported young people not in work, education or training with the Movement to Work (MTW) programme for 18 to 30-year-olds. Every year, the company works in partnership with The Prince’s Trust to deliver around 100 placements for young, unemployed people, with many more opportunities available through its careers website. In 2020 around 2,000 apprentices and 600 undergraduates were in training with BAE Systems with a range of roles running across project management, design, finance and business, besides aircraft maintenance, software and electrical engineering and more. Find out more about BAE Systems' investment in education here .

Comfortable in your skin

Being productive and doing a good job requires more than relating to your colleagues or environment – it’s about being able to bring your whole self to work. When BAE Systems states it is open for business it is also looking for better representation of race, ethnicity and gender in its workforce, across its locations and at all levels from manufacturing floor apprentices to management teams in board rooms. You can read more about its progress and programmes to improve inclusion here .

As part of that commitment, in 2020 the company launched diversity training for its recruiters and has pledged to improve social mobility, remove barriers to disabled candidates, offer more mental health action programmes, and accept all LGBTQ+ staff without question or exception in the workplace. Within BAE Systems, employee groups such as MindSet, ENabled UK, GEN, Embrace, VetNet and OutLinkUK work with leadership teams to ensure everyone feels included. Externally, BAE Systems is a founding member of the Armed Forces Covenant, supporting those who serve and have served their country and their families, and the company is a Stonewall Diversity Champion. Its diversity and inclusion policies are available for all to see and pathways to success are being monitored to achieve objectives.

Pay-back time

With the equivalent of 35,300 full-time employees across BAE System’s UK sites, an independent report recently calculated that a further 59,000 jobs are created in BAE Systems supply chain roles. Another 49,000 jobs are linked to the workforce’s own spending power. Essentially, every 100 workers at BAE Systems support a further 410 jobs across the UK.

Beyond boundaries

Employment and employability are only one side of the business story. As an organisation that takes its contribution to society seriously, BAE Systems invests in the community that surrounds the people who work for the company. In 2020 BAE Systems employees volunteered 7,043 hours during work time, equating to almost 1,400 working days, and put £1.7 million into community projects.

Supporting local communities is a key part of BAE Systems ethos, and in 2020 the company contributed more than £10 million to charities and not-for-profit organisations across the globe. As examples, that commitment aided communities in India by partnering with indigenous industry, and helped small and medium-sized enterprises stay afloat during the Covid crisis. Find out more about BAE Systems' contribution to the UK and its regions here .

Effective green change

Targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, BAE Systems is reassessing the products it manufactures and the waste it generates, minimising water consumption and emissions as part of managing its environmental impact. By 2050, BAE Systems aims to have brought suppliers and customers on-board its net zero chain. The company already runs a net zero carbon consultancy and has created electric and hybrid solutions for transportation on land, air and sea. It is using solar and battery innovation to meet its aims, with experts in power management and efficient propulsion advancing BAE Systems technologies to move the world more sustainably.

The company is behind the regeneration and transformation of a former Royal Ordnance Factory in Scotland, promoting sustainable housing, boosting biodiversity and preserving wildlife habitats at the same time. Measuring the financial impact of a work-in-progress is hard to quantify, but using recycled old building materials to form roads, and creating footpaths and cycleways. sets out both the intention and the street scene. By 2034, when the last of 4,000 new homes will be built on the 1900-acre site, 25,000 native trees will be maturing nicely. Wild flower meadows and grasslands will form the habitat supporting pine martens, badgers and otters, along with the 382 plants and 535 species of fungi already settled on the site. Naturalists who have noted 117 species of birds, 16 different types of fish and four species of amphibian hope these will be joined by many more.

Besides big projects, there are small gains promoted by BAE Systems, such as creating a bee colony at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. Engineer Dorian Grassick, whose side-hustle is beekeeping, hopes the new bee colony will pollinate the on-site well-being and conservation garden as well as the wider ecosystem and benefit his colleagues. You can read more about sustainability and the environment at BAE Systems here .

Apply now to BAE Systems

BAE Systems is not just proud of what it does, but how it does it. So, when you join the company, you’ll be part of an inclusive culture that’s committed to working to the highest ethical and environmental standards, making a positive contribution to the countries and communities in which the company operates.

Apply now to join BAE Systems, a place where you can make a real difference.

You can start by visiting BAE Systems' organisation profile and current vacancies on targetjobs.

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.