Career Development

Investing in developing talent.

Employees in a meeting

Our business success depends on our people. That’s why we are dedicated to attracting talented employees and giving them opportunities and reasons to achieve their work and life goals at Gap Inc. 

We aim to develop a diverse pipeline of employees, giving individuals new challenges to help them grow into roles with greater responsibility and cultivating great leaders who can build strong teams. We also strive to foster inclusivity, equality, agility, creativity and collaboration. We know our current and prospective employees expect a path to new opportunities that reward them for their performance and value contribution. Offering our employees challenging work that tests and builds their capabilities not only sets them up for success, it makes our business stronger and more innovative.  

We strive to develop a diverse pipeline of talent and provide employees with opportunities to learn, grow and take on greater responsibility.

As a retailer that values hands-on experience in our stores, we give store employees opportunities to take on higher-level field and corporate positions. The best testaments to the opportunities we provide are our employees who started out at stores and rose through the ranks to senior management positions; approximately 18% of Gap Inc. executives at the vice president level and above started their careers working with product and customers in stores.  

Many people stay at the company or return because of the opportunities and range of roles that our brands and business provide. It’s common for our employees to work for multiple brands and functions during their careers. Employees at the manager and higher levels average more than seven years with the company, and more than 16% of employees return for new challenges and opportunities. Our careers site and blog, as well as our alumni program, connect past, current and future talent.   

We also recognize the need to look outside our organization to make sure we find the best people for each role. We aim to balance our internal promotions and external hires to achieve the most productive mix of diverse talent, functional and subject matter expertise and organizational fit.

THE SHORT STORY  
CAREER DEVELOPMENT  

  • We emphasize a growth mindset, which we cultivate by promoting from within and eliminating traditional performance reviews.  
  • Store employees can advance within the field or into corporate positions: a number of our executives started out as store associates. 
  • Our Rotational Management Project combines classroom learning with on-the-job training across multiple functions. 
  • To double the representation of Black and Latinx employees within our U.S. headquarters by 2025, we are investing in programs to build a diverse talent pipeline, strengthen our workforce diversity and inclusive culture, and support and develop talent across the employee lifecycle. 
Building Talent

Our enterprise-wide approach to building talent provides all of our employees — professionals, managers, directors and executives — with opportunities for development. These tiered focuses meet individual contributors and leaders where they are on their professional journey, providing development programs tailored to their needs.

Our learning and development programs reach the following categories of employees:

  • Individuals: helping them to be leaders at any level, even if they are not directly managing other people
  • New managers: helping newly hired or promoted managers understand the principles of sound leadership as they begin to manage others for the first time
  • Managers: helping existing managers deliver ongoing results through effective leadership and management
  • Directors: helping people who have multiple years of leadership experience improve how they “lead leaders” and drive results for their teams
  • Executives: helping experienced leaders enhance their skills in leading multifunctional, diverse global teams to drive results at the enterprise level

Our enterprise learning efforts are open to all HQ employees and combine classroom-based experiences with virtual learning, homework, hands-on workshops and continual learning opportunities.

The company offers over 16,000 courses that we create, manage or have access to, covering a range of subjects, including goal setting, how to be a great boss, situational leadership, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, how to have powerful conversations, and many more. By delivering best-in-class training, our aim is to inspire and engage Gap Inc. talent through a consistent framework that empowers employees to drive their work forward while building strong relationships.

 

Building Workplace Equity 

In line with our goals to foster workplace equity, we evaluated our practices from “hire to retire” to identify areas to remove bias, and to enhance access and equity. In 2021, this led to the removal of education requirements from 99.7% of job descriptions below the vice president level and the complete removal of “years of experience” from job descriptions—instead listing specific skills required or level of expertise in a specific field, broadening economic opportunity for those who might not have traditional two-to-four-year degrees but possess the skills and experience.  

In 2020, we set a new goal to double representation of Black and Latinx employees at all levels in our U.S. headquarters by 2025, and we are investing in programs to build a diverse talent pipeline, strengthen our workforce diversity and inclusive culture, and support and develop talent across the employee lifecycle. As a result, we nearly doubled the Black and Latinx representation of our Rotational Management Program, the premier destination for top entry-level talent.  

We are also identifying new ways to attract talent through partnerships focused on creating pipelines for underserved communities, and by investing in the academic careers of students who are from Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities. In 2021, our new Closing the Gap program will offer students the opportunity to develop new skills, build their resumes and learn about careers in retail earlier in their academic journey. 

We are also excited about two new programs that support workplace equity: 

Tent: The Tent Partnership for Refugees is a non-profit organization with over 170 member companies launched in 2016 to mobilize the global business community to include refugees. Gap Inc. is piloting a refugee hiring program in 2021 at one of its Customer Experience Centers (CEC), and exploring potential hiring opportunities for refugees across its CEC operations in the US. Gap Inc. Also has supported refugees through other programs. Through our Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program, we have provided life skills education and technical training to refugee women in Bangladesh, Jordan and Turkey. And we have donated approximately 6 million pieces of clothing to refugees in Armenia, Burkina Faso and Lebanon in partnership with UNHCR.  

Second Chance Business Coalition: In April 2021, we joined the Second Chance Business Coalition, which promotes the benefits of employment and career advancement for people with criminal records. This allows us to lead where we have strengths from our established work with second-chance hiring and learn from other major business players to further enhance our work. We believe that every single applicant deserves an opportunity at a career with our company. Our background screening program partners with local organizations to help usher candidates through the individualized assessment process. Additionally, the background screening program helps sponsor participants from these independent organizations serving those at the margins of society in their communities, whether they be people leaving prison, formerly gang-involved or those who have been trafficked.

Building Talent

Our enterprise-wide approach to building talent provides all of our employees — professionals, managers, directors and executives — with opportunities for development. These tiered focuses meet individual contributors and leaders where they are on their professional journey, providing development programs tailored to their needs.

Our learning and development programs reach the following categories of employees:

  • Individuals: helping them to be leaders at any level, even if they are not directly managing other people
  • New managers: helping newly hired or promoted managers understand the principles of sound leadership as they begin to manage others for the first time
  • Managers: helping existing managers deliver ongoing results through effective leadership and management
  • Directors: helping people who have multiple years of leadership experience improve how they “lead leaders” and drive results for their teams
  • Executives: helping experienced leaders enhance their skills in leading multifunctional, diverse global teams to drive results at the enterprise level

Our enterprise learning efforts are open to all HQ employees and combine classroom-based experiences with virtual learning, homework, hands-on workshops and continual learning opportunities.

The company offers over 16,000 courses that we create, manage or have access to, covering a range of subjects, including goal setting, how to be a great boss, situational leadership, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, how to have powerful conversations, and many more. By delivering best-in-class training, our aim is to inspire and engage Gap Inc. talent through a consistent framework that empowers employees to drive their work forward while building strong relationships.

 

Employee laughing

Our Approach to Learning and Development

Our learning and development model is based on two core beliefs: Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow, and the best opportunities for learning take place on the job.   

To better serve our employees, we eschew a traditional annual review process for employee performance in favor of a system called “GPS—Goals. Performance. Success.” With a focus on continuous learning, GPS uses frequent performance conversations and coaching sessions to give employees regular feedback and guidance on their work and development opportunities.  

Because we believe most growth happens on the job, we use a 70-20-10 model for career development that emphasizes learning through real work experiences. Seventy percent of an employee’s learning and development takes place on the job and is built into their goals, 20% occurs through mentorship and collaboration and 10% comes from courses or formal training.

Building Talent

Our enterprise-wide approach to building talent provides all of our employees — professionals, managers, directors and executives — with opportunities for development. These tiered focuses meet individual contributors and leaders where they are on their professional journey, providing development programs tailored to their needs.

Our learning and development programs reach the following categories of employees:

  • Individuals: helping them to be leaders at any level, even if they are not directly managing other people
  • New managers: helping newly hired or promoted managers understand the principles of sound leadership as they begin to manage others for the first time
  • Managers: helping existing managers deliver ongoing results through effective leadership and management
  • Directors: helping people who have multiple years of leadership experience improve how they “lead leaders” and drive results for their teams
  • Executives: helping experienced leaders enhance their skills in leading multifunctional, diverse global teams to drive results at the enterprise level

Our enterprise learning efforts are open to all HQ employees and combine classroom-based experiences with virtual learning, homework, hands-on workshops and continual learning opportunities.

The company offers over 16,000 courses that we create, manage or have access to, covering a range of subjects, including goal setting, how to be a great boss, situational leadership, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, how to have powerful conversations, and many more. By delivering best-in-class training, our aim is to inspire and engage Gap Inc. talent through a consistent framework that empowers employees to drive their work forward while building strong relationships.

 

Building Talent

Our enterprise-wide approach to building talent provides all of our employees—professionals, managers, directors and executives—with opportunities for development. These tiered focuses meet individual contributors and leaders where they are on their professional journey, providing development programs tailored to their needs. 

In 2020, our employees participated in a total of 4,562 total learning courses (3,774 on LinkedIn Learning). We also continued to invest in our new leaders across the company, with 40 hours of education and cohort experiences per new leader and individual coaching for more than 100 of our leaders. 

Our learning and development programs reach the following categories of employees: 

  • Individuals: helping them to be leaders at any level, even if they are not directly managing other people

  • New managers: helping newly hired or promoted managers understand the principles of sound leadership as they begin to manage others for the first time

  • Managers: helping existing managers deliver ongoing results through effective leadership and management

  • Directors: helping people who have multiple years of leadership experience improve how they “lead leaders” and drive results for their teams

  • Executives: helping experienced leaders enhance their skills in leading multifunctional, diverse global teams to drive results at the enterprise level

Our enterprise learning efforts are open to all HQ employees and combine classroom-based experiences with virtual learning, homework, hands-on workshops and continual learning opportunities. 

The company offers courses covering a range of subjects, including goal setting, how to be a great boss, situational leadership, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, how to have powerful conversations, and many more.  

As part of our deep commitment to building an inclusive workplace, we are offering learning experiences that build inclusive habits and practices. We aim to help every employee progress from awareness to ally-ship, creating a leader-led, high-performing culture. Focused on creating shared understanding, common language and identifying desired shifts in behaviors, we started our anti-racism learning journey with a new global “Real Talk” series facilitated by Inclusion Strategist, Amber Cabral, focused on the complexities of systemic racism and how to overcome our own biases, remove barriers to inclusion and make more inclusive decisions.  

Building on our collective learnings and commitment to educate and inspire change, we have re-imagined our learning portfolio to now include mandatory racial equity training as well as the design and integration of inclusion and equity content in employee onboarding, new leader workshops, inclusive design courses, and our Be One. Get One. mentoring program focused on cross-cultural mentorship. To establish shared accountability to role-model inclusiveness in day-to-day behaviors and decisions, we also embedded “Championing Inclusion” into our core company values and invested in Allies and Advocates Workshops. 

By delivering best-in-class training, our aim is to inspire and engage Gap Inc. talent through a consistent framework that empowers employees to drive their work forward while building strong relationships. 

Everyone has the capacity to learn and grow, and the best opportunities for learning take place on the job.

Leadership Development

We offer employees at all levels a variety of training opportunities, ranging from online courses to in-person workshops and multi-day programs. A few examples of programs that improve our business by promoting employee learning and development include:

  • Retail Academy - This program combines classroom sessions, rotational training and business simulations designed to develop the skills employees need to advance and navigate the increasingly complex and technology-driven retail space. This includes a world-class Rotational Management Program (RMP) for high-potential entry-level talent being groomed to become future leaders of the company. 

  • Leadership Development - This six-month program provides tools and resources to new people managers and helps them develop the long-term capabilities of others, create better ways to achieve business success and empower their teams.

  • Mid-level Manager Coaching - We are helping prepare mid-level managers for senior leadership roles in a variety of ways, including through a one-to-one coaching program. Through a virtual platform, employees ranging from manager to vice president connect with experienced coaches to receive customized guidance that takes into account each participant’s unique situation. 

One employee explaining a board to two employees

Field to HQ

Fueling our entry-level headquarters roles with incredible talent is important to our success, and field employees are a key source of talent for these roles. Our diverse field employees work with customers every day and understand what they need and want. Their connection to customers and understanding of how our stores work is invaluable at headquarters. We have always encouraged bringing store employees to headquarters and in 2017, we formalized a program where we actively market opportunities to store employees, support candidates through the recruiting process and provide a custom onboarding experience to ensure a successful transition. Although we had a goal to fill 20 percent of entry-level headquarters roles with field employees by 2020, shifting corporate priorities led to uncertain hiring needs.

Great Bosses

We know that one of the primary reasons people stay in their jobs is because they have great bosses. Great bosses build great teams, and great teams contribute great value to the company. We focus on developing our leaders’ ability to connect, listen to feedback and continuously improve.

Our Great Bosses program focuses on 10 practical ways our people can “boss better,” from rewarding successes to being honest, curious, and open-minded to understanding that progress is better than perfection.

Additionally, we launched the Great Boss Survey, a vehicle for managers to get actionable feedback directly from the people they lead. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we conduct this survey twice a year and the results go directly to managers.

Employee Opinion Survey

We value our employees’ feedback and use opinion surveys as a critical component of our ongoing listening strategy. We use these insights to understand what is important to our employees and to determine where we should focus our investments and build new programs and strategies that help us create a thriving, productive work environment. 

We have modernized our approach to soliciting employee feedback, shifting from an annual company-wide opinion survey to more frequent pulse surveys on topical issues. This allows us to capture real-time data so that we can understand and respond faster to employees’ immediate needs. We now issue surveys to representative samples of employees based on the topic, with an aim to have all employees participate in at least one survey every quarter. Each survey is less than 20 questions, and we share results in regular employee communications. In 2020, 25,927 employees responded to our pulse surveys, representing a response rate of 29 percent. Of those participants, we received a 93 percent average score for “I am proud to work here” and “I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.” 

Internal Hires

We aim to fill over half of open headquarters manager and above positions through internal hires . For store management positions, over 48 percent of open positions went to existing employees in 2020. Most store associates are new hires.

Great Bosses 

We know that one of the primary reasons people stay in their jobs is because they have great bosses. Great bosses build great teams, and great teams contribute great value to the company. We focus on developing our leaders’ ability to connect, listen to feedback and continuously improve. 

Our Great Bosses program focuses on 10 practical ways our people can “boss better,” from rewarding successes to being honest, curious, and open-minded to understanding that progress is better than perfection. 

Additionally, we launched the Great Boss Survey, a vehicle for managers to get actionable feedback directly from the people they lead. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we conduct this survey twice a year and the results go directly to managers. 

Employee Opinion Survey 

We value our employees’ feedback and use opinion surveys as a critical component of our ongoing listening strategy. We use these insights to understand what is important to our employees and to determine where we should focus our investments and build new programs and strategies that help us create a thriving, productive work environment.  

We have modernized our approach to soliciting employee feedback, shifting from an annual company-wide opinion survey to more frequent pulse surveys on topical issues. This allows us to capture real-time data so that we can understand and respond faster to employees’ immediate needs. We now issue surveys to representative samples of employees based on the topic, with an aim to have all employees participate in at least one survey every quarter. Each survey is less than 20 questions, and we share results in regular employee communications.  In 2020, 25,927 employees responded to our pulse surveys, representing a response rate of 29 percent. Of those participants, we received a 93 percent average score for “I am proud to work here” and “I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.” 

Internal Hires 

We aim to fill over half of open headquarters manager and above positions through internal hires . For store management positions, over 48 percent of open positions went to existing employees in 2020. Most store associates are new hires.

For more employee data, click here.

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