Our people

BP’s performance depends on having a highly skilled, motivated and talented workforce that reflects the diversity of the societies in which we operate

As we adapt to the current low oil price environment, we are reducing activity and simplifying the way we work. Some of this has resulted in job losses. Our employee headcount at the end of 2015 was 4,700 lower than the previous year.

Our total upstream workforce - including employees and contractors - is now 20% smaller than it was in 2013, with a reduction of around 4,000 expected in 2016. We are aiming for an upstream workforce of approximately 20,000 by the end of 2016. We expect to reduce our downstream workforce roles by more than 5,000 by the end of 2017 compared with 2014. By the end of 2015, we had already achieved a reduction of more than 2,000.

Attracting and retaining the right people

The complex projects we work on - from exploring for new sources of energy through to distributing hydrocarbons safely around the world - require a wide range of specialist skills. We have a bias towards building capability and promoting from within the organization and we complement this with selective external recruitment for specialist roles. 

We decided to maintain graduate recruitment in 2015, albeit at a reduced level, with 298 graduates joining BP during the year (2014 670, 2013 814). We have worked to maintain our visibility in the graduate job market to help us attract the best recruits, and we provide them with high quality early development opportunities. For the second consecutive year BP was the highest ranked energy-sector company in the UK in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers.

In 2015 46% of our graduate intake were women and 41% were from outside the UK and US.

Building in-house capability

We provide a broad range of opportunities for our people - from on-the-job learning and mentoring programmes through to online and classroom-based courses. 

We continue to increase our use of technology in order to provide learning opportunities more efficiently across the globe, for example, by launching apps to support on-the-job development for our graduates and leaders. Our average expenditure on learning and development was around $4,000 per person in 2015. 

Through our internal academies, we provide leading technical, functional, compliance and leadership learning opportunities. We have six academies, focusing on our operating management system, petrotechnical skills, downstream, midstream, leadership, and functional skills, including finance and legal. 

BP employees by segment

Rewarding performance

We offer a competitive reward package to our employees based on what they deliver and how they have demonstrated behaviour reflecting our values. We evaluate this package on an ongoing basis and in 2015 we took the decision to freeze base pay. As part of their performance review, employees set priorities regarding their contribution to safety, compliance and risk management; what they will deliver for the near and long term; and how they will do their job. 

We link the remuneration of our executive team to strategy and performance. The structure reflects the long-term nature of our business and the significance of safety and environmental risks. Performance measures for pay related to safety and operational risk include recordable injury frequency, tier 1 process safety events and loss of primary containment.

Employee engagement

Each year we conduct a survey to gather employees’ views on a wide range of business topics and identify areas where we can improve. We track how engaged employees are with our strategic priorities using our group priorities index - based on questions about their perception of BP as a business and how it is managed in terms of leadership and standards. This measure fell to 69% in 2015 (2014 72%, 2013 72%). 

Our survey results show a strong increase in understanding and use of the code of conduct to guide behaviour and that employees remain clear about compliance with safety procedures, standards and requirements. 

However, as expected in the current low oil price environment, the proportion of employees responding that they feel more confident about BP’s future than they did the previous year has declined. We also saw a decline in scores related to development and career opportunities. 

We understand that employees have concerns about the consequences of the lower oil price. We have established additional communications channels to help address these concerns and support employees through our restructuring processes. For example, our executive team have been holding additional face-to-face town hall meetings. In our upstream business we have introduced a dedicated inbox for queries and regular listening sessions between frontline staff and management, with a commitment to follow up on any issues raised. 

Diversity and inclusion

Our goal is to create an environment of inclusion and acceptance. For our employees to be motivated and perform to their full potential, and for the business to excel, our people need to be treated with respect and dignity and without discrimination.

We continue to make progress in the area of gender diversity and our aim is for women to represent at least 25% of group leaders - our most senior managers - by 2020.

BP employees by gender (% women)

We continue to support the UK government’s review of gender diversity on boards, undertaken by Lord Davies in 2011, and maintain an aspiration to increase female representation to 25%. At the end of 2015 there were three female directors (2014 2; 2013 2) on our board of 15. Our nomination committee remains mindful of diversity when considering potential candidates.

We are also committed to increasing the national diversity of our workforce to reflect the countries in which we operate. A total of 23% of our group leaders came from countries other than the UK and US at the end of 2015 (2014 22%, 2013 22%). 

Employees have established groups around a range of interests, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability. These groups support the business in terms of recruitment, development and motivation of our employees. 

A total of 92% of our group and senior level leaders have attended our diversity, inclusion and ethics learning programme. Our intention is for all new leaders at these levels to receive this training within a year of moving into their role. 

Employee survey scores remain strong regarding the extent to which BP is an environment where people from diverse backgrounds can and do succeed.

Employees engaged with para-sports

BP is helping to raise awareness of parasports as a partner of the International Paralympic Committee. 

Our employees participate in related events and raise money for para-sports, with funds matched by BP. 

Our chief financial officer, Brian Gilvary, qualified and represented Great Britain in the age group event at the BP-supported International triathlon union (ITU) world triathlon grand final in Chicago, which also included the ITU paratriathlon world championships.


The information on this page forms part of the information reviewed and reported on by Ernst & Young as part of BP's 2015 sustainability reporting. View the full assurance statement.

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