Our employees are key to the successful implementation of BASF’s strategy. We want to attract and retain talented people for our company and support them in their development. To do so, we cultivate a working environment that inspires and connects people. It is founded on inclusive leadership based on mutual trust, respect and dedication to top performance.

We are convinced of the value of excellent employees, leaders and working conditions, and strive to give our employees the tools and skills necessary to be able to offer our customers products and services with an even greater level of differentiation and customization. Our corporate strategy promotes a working atmosphere based on mutual trust, in which employees are given the space to optimally develop their individual talents and potential. This positions us to meet the challenges of an increasingly rapidly changing environment, demographic change and the digital workplace. In everything we do, we are committed to complying with internationally recognized labor and social standards. We want our working conditions to be a motor for innovation, and one way of achieving this is through inclusion of diversity.

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. By valuing and promoting employee diversity, we boost our teams’ performance and power of innovation, and increase creativity, motivation and employees’ identification with the company.

After achieving our original target for women in leadership positions ahead of schedule, BASF set a new, more ambitious target in 2020 to further strengthen diversity. By 2030, we aim to increase the proportion of women in leadership positions to 30%. We have made important progress toward this goal. In the BASF Group, the global proportion of female leaders with disciplinary responsibility was 24.3% at the end of 2020 (2019: 23.0%).

BASF can rely on the engagement of its employees. Global employee surveys and pulse checks are an established feedback tool in the BASF Group, and are used to involve employees in shaping their working environment. As part of the BASF strategy, we set ourselves the following goal in 2018: More than 80% of our employees feel that at BASF, they can thrive and perform at their best. We regularly calculate the employee engagement level as an index score based on five questions on set topics in our employee surveys. The 2020 survey revealed an engagement index of 82% (2019: 79%).

We act responsibly toward our employees. Part of this is our voluntary commitment to respecting international labor and social standards, which we have embedded in our global Code of Conduct. This encompasses internationally recognized labor norms as stipulated in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy of the International Labour Organization (ILO). BASF is committed to complying with these standards worldwide.

As of December 31, 2020, the number of employees decreased to 110,302 employees compared with 117,628 employees as of December 31, 2019. The decrease was due primarily to the sale of the construction chemicals business, which affected around 7,500 employees. An offsetting factor was the acquisition of Solvay’s polyamide business due to which around 1,200 employees joined the BASF Group including the employees of the Butachimie SNC and Alsachimie S.A.S. joint operations, both in Chalampé, France, which were counted on a pro rata basis. We employed 3,120 apprentices1 (2019: 3,161). 2,128 employees were on temporary contracts (of whom 44.0% were women).

BASF Group employees by region December 31, 2020 %




of which Germany



North America



Asia Pacific



South America, Africa, Middle East



Total 110,302 100.0

The BASF Group hired 6,340 new employees in 2020. The percentage of employees who resigned during their first three years of employment – the early turnover rate – was 1.0% worldwide in 2020. This turnover rate was 0.7% in Europe, 1.5% in North America, 1.8% in Asia Pacific and 1.8% in South America, Africa, Middle East. Our early turnover rate is therefore at a desirable low level.

At BASF, the apprenticeship program trains students for technical, scientific and business vocations as well as for trade and craft professions.

We want to attract engaged and qualified employees, retain them and motivate them to achieve top performance with an attractive package including market-oriented compensation, individual development opportunities and a good working environment so that they contribute to the company’s long-term success. Our employees’ compensation is based on global compensation principles according to position, market and performance. As a rule, compensation comprises fixed and variable components as well as benefits that often exceed legal requirements. In many countries, these benefits include company pension benefits, supplementary health insurance and share programs. We regularly review our compensation systems at local and regional levels.

We want our employees to contribute to the company’s long-term success. This is why the compensation granted to the vast majority of our employees includes variable compensation components, with which they participate in the success of the BASF Group as a whole and are recognized for their individual performance.

We use the BASF Group’s return on capital employed (ROCE) to measure economic success for the purposes of variable compensation. This links variable compensation to our ROCE target.1 Individual performance is assessed as part of a globally consistent performance management process.

BASF Group personnel expenses (Million €) 2020 2019 +/-

Wages and salaries

8,416 8,825


Social security contributions and assistance expenses

1,424 1,545 –7.8%

Pension expenses

736 554 32.9%

Total personnel expenses

10,576 10,924


1 In calculating ROCE, adjustments are made for negative and positive special items resulting from acquisitions and divestitures (for example, integration costs in connection with acquisitions and gains or losses from the divestiture of businesses) when these exceed a corridor of +/–1% of the average cost of capital basis. An adjustment of the ROCE (in the first 12 months after closing) therefore only occurs in cases of exceptionally high special items resulting from acquisitions and divestitures.

BASF’s Compliance Program is based on our corporate values and our voluntary commitments, as well as international standards. It describes our commitment to responsible conduct and expectations around how all BASF employees interact with business partners, officials, coworkers and the community.

At the core of our Compliance Program is the global, standardized Code of Conduct. All employees and managers are obligated to adhere to its guidelines, which cover topics ranging from corruption and antitrust laws to human rights, labor and social standards, conflicts of interest and trade control, and protection of data privacy.

BASF’s global Code of Conduct from 2013 was thoroughly revised and republished in June 2020. It has been supplemented with specific additional topics. New sections include “Digital Responsibility” and “How We Make Decisions.”

The structure of BASF’s Code of Conduct


Abiding by compliance standards is the foundation of responsible leadership. This has also been embedded in our values. We are convinced that compliance with these standards will play a key role in securing our company’s long-term success. Our efforts are principally aimed at preventing violations from the outset.

We perform a systematic risk assessment to identify the risk of compliance violations, including corruption risks. These are conducted at divisional, regional and country levels. The regular compliance audits performed by the Corporate Audit department are another source of information for the systematic identification of risks. These risks are documented in the relevant risk or audit report. The same applies to specific risk minimization measures as well as the time frame for their implementation.

One key element in the prevention of compliance violations is compulsory training and workshops held as classroom or online courses. All employees are required within a prescribed time frame to take part in basic compliance training, refresher courses and special tutorials dealing with, for example, antitrust legislation, taxes or trade control regulations. In addition, the new Code of Conduct contains a section dedicated to leading with integrity. Newly appointed senior executives therefore receive special training on compliance. Course materials and formats are constantly updated, taking into account the specific risks of individual target groups and business areas. In total, more than 42,000 participants worldwide received around 54,000 hours of compliance training in 2020.

Code of Conduct

forms core of our Compliance Program


More than 42,000

participants in compliance training


61 internal audits

conducted on compliance


Last Update June 8, 2021