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Sustainability > Key Activities 2013 > Diversity Management
Fiscal 2013 Key Activities

Human Resources. Diversity Management. Diversity Project — Maximizes the Talents of Female Employees

Japan Needs Women to Take a Leading Role

Daikin has always striven to include the talents of a diverse range of people, whatever their nationality, race, age, or physical abilities.

As our business globalizes, so does the diversity of our customers and business partners. To respond to these market changes, we must further diversify our human resources; this is especially true for women in Japan, a valuable resource whose talents have up to now been under-utilized in this country.

Declining birthrates and an aging society are creating a labor shortage in Japan, and it is becoming increasingly important to effectively utilize the talents of women. Daikin Industries is focusing on putting female employees in a more active role in order to quickly respond to a changing market environment and market needs.

Percentage of Women in Management Positions, by Country

Percentage of Women in Management Positions, by Country

Source: Are Young People and Women Being Effectively Utilized in the Workforce, published by the Cabinet Office (February 2013)

Allowing Female Employees to Use Their Capabilities to the Fullest

Since 2001, Daikin Industries has focused on maximizing the talents of women. We increased the number of female managers from two in 2001 to 22 in 2013; however, we are still below the average for the manufacturing industry.

To remedy this situation and get our female employees participating more fully in our operations, in 2011 we launched a project to maximize women’s talents. We discovered that a barrier to more active participation by women was the mindset of both female employees and the Daikin male managers. We thus focused on changing people’s way of thinking. In addition, we expanded our support programs that help achieve a work-life balance for enthusiastic, capable employees.

Maximizing the Talents of Women

Increasing the number of female managers

  • Training to foster female leaders
  • Training to change women’s mindset for their long-term career

Changing the mindset of male managers

  • Female subordinate fostering sessions as part of management training
  • Seminars for male managers and other workplace leaders

Maximizing talents of employees returning to workplace after childcare leave

  • Measures to help employees transition smoothly and quickly to workplace after childcare leave
  • Maintaining and developing skills and capabilities of workers while they are on childcare leave
  • Measures to help returning workers on shorter hours transition back to full time

Stepping up efforts to hire women

  • Focus on hiring women enthusiastic about a career
  • Focus on hiring women with engineering backgrounds

Changing the Mindset of Managers and Female Employees

Since fiscal 2012, Daikin Industries has been conducting training and other efforts to get female employees to think more about their careers by defining the role that their jobs play in their life long-term.

At the same time, we have tried to change the stereotypes and actions of male managers, who tend to think that women will leave the company when they get pregnant, and that certain jobs are not for women. Male managers also tend to believe that since female employees cannot do very much while they are raising children, they should not be given certain work or opportunities. To help remedy these problems, in fiscal 2013, male managers, as part of their management training, took sessions on how to foster the careers of their female subordinates. The sessions included sharing of best practices on training and case studies based on actual problems faced in the workplace. After the session, participants had comments like, “It’s clear that maximizing women’s talents propels diversity and creates new value,” and “I realized that we have been stereotyping women and their roles.” By changing our mindset in this way, we are aiming to step up the training of women and put more of them in management positions, thus creating more equality between women and men at Daikin.

Changing the Mindset of Male Managers

Main challenges for male managers with regards to female subordinates
Managers tend to stereotype women (“Women will leave the company when they get pregnant,” “Certain jobs are not for women”) and thus avoid giving them certain jobs.
Managers give women returning from childcare leave too little work or only easy jobs, not work that will help advance their career.
Fostering careers of female employees as part of management training
Sharing current state of utilization of female employees Share best practices and current state of training of female employees, discuss these, and figure out what needs to be done in one’s own workplace.
Basic knowledge of promoting diversity Define diversity promotion and its benefits for company operations, and learn about the existing psychological and organizational barriers to diversity promotion.
Case discussions Debate measures by looking at case studies on the topics of what jobs to give women returning from childcare leave and the elimination of excessive working hours.
Plans for maximizing women’s talents Come up with visions and targets for the utilization of female personnel and study action plans for each workplace.
Female subordinate career-fostering session for male managersFemale subordinate career-fostering session for male managers
Training to help female employees think more about their careersTraining to help female employees think more about their careers
450 male managers will take part in training to change mindset

Facilitating a Smooth Transition Back to Work Following Childcare Leave

One barrier to maximizing the talents of women is the problem of long waiting lists to get children into childcare facilities. One of Daikin Industries’ core policies is to create an environment that allows women motivated about work but currently giving birth or raising children to continue their jobs and use their talents to the fullest. To this end, we are boosting support for a smooth transition back to the workplace following childcare leave.

In December 2013, we introduced a service in which specialists help Daikin mothers find nursery schools for their children. The service supports mothers from the time they are pregnant to when they find a nursery school for their children, along the way providing individually geared advice and counseling on the most conveniently located and suitable nursery schools in a prompt and knowledgeable manner.

We also stepped up support systems for a smooth transition to the workplace following childcare leave. For employees returning to work less than six months after taking maternity leave, we have increased the company subsidy for childcare services from a maximum 200,000 yen annually to 600,000 yen. We also have shorter working hours (four hours a day) and a six-hour flex-time system as part of efforts to make it easier for motivated female employees to do their jobs.

Stakeholder's Voice

Daikin Has Successfully Made Women’s Career Advancement a Part of Management Strategy

Daikin Industries’ efforts to maximize the talents of women are unique in several ways. Company executives are taking strong leadership in making this issue core to management strategy; and women returning from childcare leave are helped into a smooth, rapid transition back to the workplace, moving from short working hours back to full time so that don’t merely continue their jobs but rather advance their careers. These are admirable qualities that should be a model for other companies.

However, due to Daikin’s relatively short history in employing women as core employees, the company has quite a low percentage of women in management positions. But we can foresee a rapid rise in this percentage in the next 10 years. I look forward to seeing Daikin publicize target figures for women in management as its target for fostering women’s careers, but without giving them favorable treatment along the way.

Kimie Iwata

Kimie IwataChairperson, Japan Institute of Workers’ Evolution (JIWE)

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