Inclusion of Diversity

  • Promoting diversity is part of our company culture

The strong global character of our markets translates into different customer requirements – and we want to reflect this diversity among our employees, too. For us, diversity means, among other things, having people from different backgrounds working at our company who can draw on their individual perspectives and skills to grow our business. This diversity is important to us because it enables our employees to better meet our customers’ needs. By valuing and promoting employee diversity, we boost our teams’ performance and power of innovation, and increase creativity, motivation and each and every individual’s identification with the company.

Promoting and valuing diversity across all hierarchical levels is an integral part of our strategy and is also embedded in our corporate values. BASF strives to foster a working environment based on mutual respect, trust and appreciation. This is enshrined in our global Competency Model, which provides a framework for our employees and leaders. The inclusion of diversity is anchored in this model as one of the behaviors expected of employees and leaders.

Our leaders play an important role in its implementation. We support them by integrating topics such as inclusive leadership into our leadership development courses. Special seminars and training events are held to sensitize leaders to issues such as unconscious bias. This enables them to remain as objective as possible when making personnel decisions, for example, to avoid unconscious biases in favor of or against candidates with certain characteristics or views.

Diversity also relates to the company’s demographic profile, which varies widely by region within the BASF Group. Our aim is to create a suitable framework to help maintain the employability of our personnel at all stages of life and ensure the availability of qualified employees over the long term. Mixed-age teams also benefit from the combination of different skills and perspectives, for example, by bringing together knowledge of digital technologies with many years of experience and process expertise. We have various measures in place to foster this transfer of knowledge and experience, and learning from each other. Given the special role that our leaders assume, the topic “leadership in times of demographic change” forms a part of many of our leadership programs.

BASF Group employee age structure

(Total: 122,404, of which 25.1% women, as of December 31, 2018)

BASF Group employee age structure (bar chart)

We also promote diversity in leadership development. Our global approach is evidenced by the high percentage of non-German senior executives,1 for example. This was 40.4% at the end of 2018 (2017: 38.9%). Our goal is to continue to maintain this figure at significantly above the 2003 baseline (30%).

Since 2015, BASF has set itself global quantitative goals for increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions. We aim to increase this ratio to 22–24% worldwide by 2021, so that the proportion of women in leadership positions reflects the share of female employees in the BASF Group when the target was set.

2021 target

Proportion of women in leadership positions with disciplinary responsibility


Considering the low rate of turnover in the BASF Group’s leadership team, this is an ambitious goal that we want to achieve through various measures. At BASF in North America, for example, diversity considerations such as gender or ethnic background are systematically considered when drawing up candidate lists and interview panels for all vacant positions. BASF has been a member of the Chefsache initiative since 2016, a network of leaders from industry, academia, the public sector and media. The initiative aims to initiate social change such as increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions in Germany. In the BASF Group, the global proportion of female leaders with disciplinary responsibility was 21.7%2 at the end of 2018 (2017: 20.5%).

Leaders and professionals in the BASF Group2


December 31, 2018

Of which women (%)


Employees with disciplinary leadership responsibilities


Specialists without disciplinary leadership responsibilities

(Senior) executives1








1 The term “senior executives” refers to leadership levels 1 to 4, whereby level 1 denotes the Board of Executive Directors. In addition, individual employees can attain senior executive status by virtue of special expertise.

2 Excluding employees of the businesses acquired from Bayer