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 skills 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 to further strengthen our innovative power with attractive working conditions and through the inclusion of diversity. Lifelong learning and individual employee development lay the foundation for this.

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.

We also promote diversity in the selection and development of our leaders. We have set a global target to promote female leadership and aim to increase the proportion of women in leadership positions to 30% by 2030. We have made important progress toward this target. In the BASF Group, the global proportion of female leaders with disciplinary responsibility was 25.6% at the end of 2021 (2020: 24.3%).

BASF can rely on the engagement of its employees. Global employee surveys and pulse checks are established feedback tools in the BASF Group, and are used to actively 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 most recent survey from 2020 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, 2021, the number of employees increased to 111,047 employees compared with 110,302 employees as of December 31, 2020. The rise was primarily due to staff increases in Asia Pacific, especially in connection with the formation of BASF Shanshan Battery Materials Co., Ltd., as well as our new Verbund site in Zhanjiang, China. The divestiture of the pigments business which affected around 2,500 employees, had an offsetting impact. We employed 3,028 apprentices1 (2020: 3,120). 2,329 employees were on temporary contracts.

BASF Group employees by region

  December 31, 2021 %




of which Germany



North America



Asia Pacific



South America, Africa, Middle East






The BASF Group hired 10,293 new employees in 2021. The percentage of employees who resigned during their first three years of employment – the early turnover rate – was 1.5% worldwide in 2021. This turnover rate was 0.6% in Europe, 2.4% in North America, 3.4% in Asia Pacific and 2.5% in South America, Africa, Middle East. Our early turnover rate is therefore at a desirably low level.

1 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 and retain engaged and qualified employees, and motivate them to achieve top performance with a total offer package that includes 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 global and local 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 € 2021 2020 +/-

Wages and salaries




Social security contributions and assistance expenses


1,424 +6.7%

Pension expenses


736 -0.5%

Total personnel expenses




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.

The revised 2020 version also offers our employees user-friendly features such as case studies, FAQs and additional references. The corresponding internal online platform and app are available to employees worldwide, providing them continuously with up-to-date content such as videos and links to other specialist units and guide-lines as well as direct contact to subject specialists.

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, with an additional focus on Group companies in 2021. 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. Newly appointed senior executives also receive special training on leading with integrity. Course materials and formats are constantly updated, taking into account the specific risks of individual target groups and business areas. In total, more than 53,000 participants worldwide received over 79,000 hours of compliance training in 2021.

Code of Conduct

is the core of our Compliance Program


More than 53,000

participants in compliance training


77 internal audits

conducted on adherence to our compliance standards


Last Update June 13, 2022