Promotion of Diversity
Message from SEC President Yasunori Ogawa
All Epson employees to be given equal opportunities without regard to gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, religion, or age. Ideally, we should naturally accept one another's differences and diversity without the need for thought or debate. To help ensure such acceptance, we launched a Diversity and Inclusion Project. This project team, which reports directly to me, hosts seminars, raises awareness of diversity issues, aids employees who have caregiving responsibilities, and has been involved in revamping the employee promotion system. Epson Sales Japan, a domestic Group company, has set up an advisory unit made up of younger employees and women employees. Their mission is to get executive management to embrace a more diverse range of ideas and opinions. The executive management team is also seeking greater diversity and is actively recruiting a broad range of human resources while also developing talent internally.
We want to be a more flexible company, one that values different ideas from a diverse workforce and that capitalizes on those ideas to achieve sustainable growth. Innovative changes are still in their infancy, but we see the promotion of diversity as an important management issue and will continue to drive further advances.
Respect for diversity is a cornerstone of Epson's Management Philosophy, and our personnel policies reflect it.
Diversity is the inclusion of individuals of different genders, national origins, religions, regions, educations, social statuses, and LGBT, regardless of whether these traits are innate or acquired, visible, or invisible.
Epson's true customers are end users the world over. In order to enrich their lives, we have to understand them and meet their needs. To achieve this, our own diversity is important. We believe that only with a diverse workforce of people who have respect for one another and who know and practice what is important can we create customer value. In order to deliver results that surprise and delight our customers, Epson promotes female managerial staff and foreign nationals, fostering a corporate culture that enables diverse personnel to display their abilities to the full.
Director and Executive Officer, General Administrative Manager of the Human Resources Division and Health Management Office
Alleviating the Gender Gap
Epson is promoting diversity and inclusion with the goal of being a company where all employees can maximize their abilities regardless of gender or other attributes. Diversity and inclusion issues diverge widely by country and region, and the action we take is tailored to each.
In Japan, we are focusing our efforts on gender, nationality, age, and disabilities. In addition to promoting the advancement of women, we are strengthening recruitment of other nationalities, expanding work opportunities for persons with disabilities, and developing human resources, personnel systems, and work arrangements that enable all people to make the most of their abilities.
Advancement of Women in the Workplace
An early advocate of equal opportunity employment in Japan, Seiko Epson abolished gender-based difference in pay in 1983, and has sought to eliminate the gender gap and enable employees to enjoy a good work-life balance by providing leaves of absence, shorter workdays for women with young children, and financial assistance to help cover babysitter expenses. These and other actions have met with some success, as women stay with the company longer than men, on average. However, there is still a gender gap when it comes to promotion to management and other leadership positions. Seiko Epson recognizes this as an issue and is taking additional action to support the advancement of more women in the workplace.
Goal for the Advancement of Women in the Workplace
In promoting the advancement of women in the workplace, we aim to achieve gender equality and enable all employees to reach their full potential regardless of gender or other attributes. Our goal is to have women at each level of middle and executive management. The ratio of women in management should be the same as the ratio of women in our workforce. We look to achieve this naturally, even without being conscious of gender.
In 2016, Seiko Epson created a Female Empowerment Project team in the Human Resources Department to create a climate of support for employees who want to advance their careers, regardless of gender. The project team was dissolved in October 2020, and a Diversity and Inclusion Project that reports directly to the president was launched.
Plans for promoting women's participation and advancement in the workplace
- We are aiming to have female employees account for 5% (40 people) of management positions and 7% (350 people) of leadership roles (equivalent to assistant manager) by FY2022.
- We are increasing the pool of candidates to increase the number of women in management positions in the future.
- We will recruit new graduates, with a goal of securing a hiring class composed of at least 25% women.
- We will expand and enhance a variety of policies and measures to enable women to shape their long-term careers at Epson. (For example, we will host dialog with management, and encourage women to participate in management and career development training seminars.)
- We will explore and expand telecommuting and other more flexible ways of working.
Overview of Initiatives
|Issue||Direction of Actions||Concrete Policies/Measures|
1. Unconscious bias
(employees, managers, organizations)
- Changing mind-set
Separate education programs for all employees, women, and managers
- Senior executive messages
- Online course in unconscious bias
2. Long working hours
(organizations & managers)
- Dealing with time constraints
- Introducing flexible work arrangements
- Supporting employees with child-rearing or nursing/caregiving responsibilities
- Encouraging men to take paternity leave
- Changing how managers work
- Changing attitudes toward work
- Performance evaluation system that does not
put time-constrained employees at a disadvantage
- Remote work system
- Babysitter assistance
- Seminar for working caregivers
3. Lack of growth opportunities
(Managers: no career model)
(Employees: no role model)
- Performance evaluation system
- Providing growth opportunities under the leadership of chief operating officers
- Promotion examination system changes
- Training of select management candidates
- Advisory service for women
- Infertility treatment
- Help for employees with children on preschool waiting lists
- Promotion of hiring & retention of women
Senior executive messages
Epson's senior executives stress the importance of diversity at bi-annual Group policy meetings. They arrange meetings and discussions to speak with women employees, and the president communicates company policies and his thoughts about diversity and the advancement of women through messages posted on the company intranet.
Unconscious bias training
In 2020, we provided an online course for employees of Seiko Epson and domestic Group companies to drive home the importance of diversity and learn about unconscious bias, which is one of the main factors that hinder diversity. The course has been completed by 17,261 employees (about 90%).
<Long working hours>
Performance evaluation system that does not put time-constrained employees at a disadvantage
The criteria for evaluating employees who work a full day and employees who work shorter hours are identical. This was done to ensure a level playing field when it comes to advancement and promotions, even for individuals whose working hours are limited for personal reasons. Employees are evaluated based on their achievements with respect to goals that are considered achievable within their respective workdays.
Remote work system for child-rearing and nursing/caregiving employees
Seiko Epson introduced a system in FY2018 that gives time-constrained employees the opportunity to work from home so that they can provide care to dependents, including children and other sick or ill family members. In 2020, the remote work option was expanded to encompass all employees. Those with child-rearing and nursing/caregiving responsibilities can work from home flexibly on an hourly, half-day, or per-day basis. For example, parents can leave work during regular working hours as needed to participate in school events. Or, when their child gets sick, they can work a certain minimum number of hours while their children are sleeping. Whereas parents previously may have had to take paid leave for these situations, they now can work more flexibly around them. Employees can also work remotely from approved locations outside the home, providing even greater flexibility.
Male participation in childcare
For working mothers to fully participate and advance in the workplace, their partners must share the burden for housework and childcare. There has been an increase in recent years in the number of men who want to be more actively involved in raising and caring for their children. Seiko Epson thus created a paternity leave guidebook in 2014 and posted it on the company intranet. We also encourage participation in childcare by sharing stories from men who have taken paternity leave.
From October 2005, we have offered subsidies for babysitting services. We have gradually increased the subsidy, and currently we pay the full amount for up to 16 hours.
Seminar to retain employee caregivers
To help employees understand public and private caregiving options and to prepare them for risks associated with the emergence of sudden caregiving responsibilities, we invite experts to give seminars for working caregivers so that they can stay in the workforce. In addition, we have introduced group long-term care insurance as part of the benefits package to help cover caregiving costs. We also hold seminars on caregiving costs to ease the minds of employees facing a caregiving situation.
Exploration of work reforms
We have expanded the purposes for which employees may take wellbeing leave. Now parents can take time off to care for their children when schools temporarily close or to help their children get gradually accustomed to daycare.
Furthermore, a labor-management subcommittee on work reform is exploring changes that will give time-constrained employees who have childcare or nursing/caregiving responsibilities more work flexibility.
<Lack of growth opportunities>
Promotion Examination system changes
To be eligible for promotion exams, employees must write a dissertation and pass a written test in the same year. Since a considerable amount of time is needed to write the dissertation and prepare for the written test, employees who have limited free time faced additional challenges. Another stumbling block was that employees who qualify to take the test must do so (and pass) within a three-year period, after which eligibility expired, so those taking maternity leave could end up losing eligibility. To remove these obstacles and make it easier for time-constrained employees to gain promotion, we changed the system, in April 2018. We eliminated the expiration period and made it so that employees could maintain eligibility even if they pass only certain test subjects over a multi-year period. In October 2020, we made it even easier for time-constrained employees to try to earn promotion and ascend the grade scale by recognizing the writing of a thesis as an opportunity for professional development and allowing them to write their thesis and take the written test during work hours.
Training of select management candidates
We are creating a pool of management candidates by providing training to select individuals. A cumulative total of 38 female employees have taken this training.
Career counseling for women
We have installed a career counseling service for women employees who are having trouble envisioning their career path or who are otherwise undecided about their future career. This service put them into contact with a female mentor who can help them think positively about their career at Epson. We also have a health consultation service for women who wish to speak with an occupational physician or qualified obstetric nurse.
We have made it possible for employees to take wellbeing leave for fertility treatment.
Help for employees with children on waiting lists
A growing number of children in recent years have been put on waiting lists for childcare services not only in the Tokyo area but also in Nagano Prefecture, where our main offices are located. Therefore, we are promoting a partnership with company-led nursery schools in the areas where employees live. (There were six schools as of June 2021.)
Promotion of hiring & retention - interviews with third-year employees
The Human Resources Department interviews young employees who joined the company right out of school and are in their third year with the company to help them quickly improve their effectiveness and to encourage retention. By listening to their concerns about work, the work environment, and their career design, and by following up with them and their workplace, we have seen an increase in retention rate.
Networking - dialog between executive management and female employees
Seiko Epson will continue to hold meetings between members of the executive management team and female employees. These meetings are designed to create a mutual support environment and help women network with female managers, manager candidates, and other employees who share similar concerns at around age 30. So far, more than 20 meetings have been held, with more than 100 people participating. In the 2020 fiscal year, discussions were held between female employees and the president on two occasions, while women also met to discuss issues with an outside director.
Members of executive management who participate in these meetings learn first-hand about the needs of women in the workplace, such as the ability to telecommute during the childrearing years and availability of a temporary day care space in emergencies. These talks lead to the development of actual trials and the creation of new programs.
The network of female employees is expanding through programs such as dialog sessions among women at the same site or in the same or different business. Now, women who met through dialog sessions are sharing their concerns with one another and communicating about career design and work-life balance support.
Certification by external parties
Certification as an "Eruboshi" Company
In July, 2016, the Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare granted Seiko Epson the top "Eruboshi" mark* (three stars) in recognition of its efforts as a good company to promote the active participation and advancement of women in the workplace.
The Ministry established the Eruboshi mark in February 2016 based on the newly enacted Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. Companies that draw up and submit an action plan and meet certain standards are eligible to receive the mark if they have demonstrated successful efforts to promote the advancement of women.
Seiko Epson launched a project to step up its initiatives related to women's advancement. Through such programs as setting up discussions between female employees and management and establishing a new mechanism that enable people to continue working while they provide care for elderly relatives, the company intends not only to help women continue working, but also to provide an environment where women who want careers can advance into leadership roles.
* Companies are graded on five criteria and awarded one of three levels of certification depending on how many of the criteria they satisfy. The criteria are recruitment, continued employment, working hours, percentage of women in managerial positions, and diversity of career courses. A company, which met all five criteria, is certified to receive the Grade 3 (three stars) Eruboshi mark.
Certification as a Kurumin and Platinum Kurumin Company
Since 2007, Seiko Epson has received Kurumin certification from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare in recognition of its efforts to implement policies that support childrearing and will benefit the next generation. In 2016, we earned Platinum Kurumin recognition.
The Platinum Kurumin mark is awarded as proof that a Kurumin-certified company that has demonstrated the highest level of excellence and has satisfied certain rigorous requirements has earned special recognition (Platinum Kurumin certification) for child-rearing support from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. Seiko Epson is committed to driving further child-rearing support initiatives in the future primarily by reducing working hours and encouraging paternity leaves through work reforms and the activities of the Diversity and Inclusion Project.
Seiko Epson will roll out further actions to expand the career advancement possibilities for women and increase diversity.
Statistics of Advancement of Women in the Workplace
Percentage of women in workplace and in management
(All affiliated companies/domestic affiliated companies/Seiko Epson)
|Group total||Japan||Except Japan|
|Percentage of regular employees||55.5%||44.5%||81.0%||19.0%||45.9%||54.1%|
|Percentage of managers||82.9%||17.1%||93.3%||6.7%||65.3%||34.7%|
* Managers means all managers including junior manager level (e.g. leaders, supervisors)
Epson has sites around the world to accurately identify and swiftly and flexibly meet the changing needs of customers at different times and in different regions. The Epson Group currently employs about 80,000 people.
Epson is vertically integrated, which means we have control over the value chain. A high-performing, diverse workforce is essential for achieving vertical integration, making it vital for our operations divisions in Japan and Epson Group companies overseas to be on the same page in terms of business vision and policies. That is why we have a variety of international programs to promote communication and interaction among people at various levels within our operations divisions, Head Office, and other internal organizations.
Epson holds a variety of meetings and seminars for representatives from our global sites.
Some are function specific, for areas such as legal affairs, finance and accounting, safety, and the environment. Others are for global projects involving matters such as IT systems and the adoption of IFRS. Still others, such as sales meetings, are held to discuss a range of topics and to share information and opinions globally.
Global Talent Management
Epson seeks to put itself in the best position to achieve the goals of Epson 25 Renewed by reviewing organizations, roles, and human resources from a global perspective and making adaptations that best serve our business strategies and the ever-changing business environment. The company specifies the roles and requirements for key positions in the global Epson Group. It establishes succession plans and has systems in place to ensure that the best people for these positions are selected without regard to consideration such as age, gender, and nationality.
Epson Group companies outside Japan identify certain ranks at which they look for candidates to fill future top-level management positions. They then compile basic information about everyone at those ranks. Seiko Epson consults with Epson Group companies to grade these individuals based on common global criteria and identify the top talent. Information about their skills and capabilities is gathered by various means, including 360-degree evaluations, and future career path and development plans are explored.
As a result of these initiatives, Epson now has home-grown talent in leadership positions at its overseas affiliates. The CEO of Epson's regional head office in the US is an American who has responsibility for all administrative and business operations at Epson companies in North, Central, and South America. In Europe, all local affiliates controlled by the regional head office are headed by locals. In addition, a number of Epson sales and manufacturing affiliates around the globe have recruited or promoted locals to run their operations.
Currently, 34% of directors at overseas affiliates are non-Japanese, while 57% of those affiliates' CEOs are non-Japanese.
Initiatives to Globally Develop Human Resources
The Global Incubation Seminar (GIS)
The Global Incubation Seminar (GIS) is a program for developing global leaders who will be a driving force in the Epson Group. At the seminar, we share Epson's vision and values with up-and-coming leaders from around the world and empower them to put these into practice in their own organizations. Since 1999, the first year of the program, more than 380 people have participated in GIS training and nearly all the chief executives of Epson's overseas affiliates are graduates of the program.
For five days in February each year, about 25 persons participate, members of overseas affiliates plus a few employees from Japan. Through direct communication with executive management, they get a deeper understanding of Epson's long-term vision and business strategy and learn the importance of compliance in Epson management. The participants, who work in different regions, functions, and businesses, share the issues they each face and what they are doing to overcome them. They each consider how they can play a central role in their organizations to create Epson value. On the final day of the seminar, they reveal their personal action plans to executive management and after that they execute those plans.
Currently, the seminar is on hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that exception, we will offer this training on a continuing basis, hoping to develop diverse global talent who will drive Epson to new heights in the future.
Global Executive Seminar (GES)
In FY2017, Epson launched the inaugural Global Executive Seminar (GES) to further strengthen executive management at overseas affiliates. The seminar is designed to develop leaders who are capable of devising strategies and analyzing issues, leaders who can help guide us toward Epson's long-term goals, understand the roles that they and their companies should play, and identify changes to make in a business environment where the future is hard to read. The seminar starts with a three-day group training session (session 1) and is followed by a year-long period during which participants apply lessons in actual practice, after which they gather to report the results over two days (session 2).
Six people (four overseas affiliate members and two employees from Japan) took part in GES 2019-20 session 1 in FY2019. They did their session 2 online in FY2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants each gave a presentation on the management issues they tackled over the past year. The seminar concluded with them promising further growth and development in the future.
Through programs like these, we are laying a more robust business foundation worldwide for responding to change and executing strategies.
Employees Sent to Japan for Training
Epson actively accepts interns from overseas manufacturing sites to stay in Japan for a period of three months to one year. We provide educational programs that give them an opportunity to learn skills and techniques not available in their home countries and helps them enhance their understanding of business processes. In fiscal 2019, we accepted 34 technical interns and trainees, and since 1988, we have welcomed a total of 1,800 Group employees.
The photo on the right shows technical interns inspecting parts manufactured with dies they made themselves.
Epson also recently introduced a program that is designed to deepen the insights of young employees at Epson sales companies. The program enables them to get a different perspective on projects they are working on through interaction with people from the operations divisions and Head Office supervisory departments in Japan. It also enhances their appreciation of Epson and Epson values.
(These programs are currently on hiatus because of COVID-19.)
Employing and Supporting Persons with Disabilities
Epson employs a large number of persons with disabilities. For this reason we accommodate special needs in a variety of ways. For example, we provide easy-access restrooms, parking spaces, and other facilities. We also provide services such as sign language interpretation for in-house training and interviews, and special shortened working hours for dialysis treatment. Two special subsidiaries in Japan, Epson Mizube Corp., and Epson Swan Corp. have made special provisions to accommodate employees with disabilities and allow them to make the most of their talents, and they are now expanding job opportunities for disabled employees.
Epson Mizube Corp.
Epson Mizube Corporation was founded in 1983 as a special subsidiary of Seiko Epson. It began with a workforce of 15 people, 11 of whom had disabilities, and has expanded steadily since then.
Epson Mizube's wide range of services include assembly, inspection, cleaning, and packaging of various electronic and precision devices; paper recycling; printing, copying, and bookbinding; document digitization; dust suit cleaning; building cleaning; and sorting and dismantling used ink cartridges. The company employs 147 persons with disabilities at seven sites (as of the end of March 2021).
Facilities cleaning services were launched in 2008, and have since grown to a crew of 48 employees who provide services to 5 sites (as of March 31, 2021). The cleaning crews contribute to maintaining pleasant working environments. In 2017, we installed an upcycling model line in the PaperLab. This has expanded employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and promotes environmental impact reduction by using the PaperLab and DFP to turn used paper into business cards and notebook paper.
Certification as an Employer of Persons with Disabilities
The Japan Association of Employers of Persons with Disabilities, which works on a commission from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, certifies companies that demonstrate excellence in matching disabled employees with the right jobs and working conditions, employ multiple persons with disabilities, and meet certain other criteria for the advancement of persons with disabilities. Epson Mizube earned certification as an employer of persons with disabilities in recognition of its efforts to expand hiring of individuals with mental disabilities and for company-wide initiatives to engage and support people with disabilities as they seek to gain independence.(January 1, 2020)
Taking part in the Abilympics
Many of Epson's employees with disabilities have amazing skills that are invaluable to the company. At the National Abilympics competition in Aichi, Japan in FY2019, Shoichi Yokouchi earned silver in the electronic device assembly event and Katsunori Nakajima competed in the building cleaning event. Yokouchi, an Abilympics veteran who has won six medals over the years, including a gold in electronic circuit assembly, is also helping to train his younger coworkers. His mere presence is a source of encouragement for other employees with disabilities and helps to invigorate the workplace.
(Epson did not participate in the FY2020 Abilympics because of the COVID-19.)
Their Imperial Majesties Emperor and Empress Pay the Virtual Visit to Epson Mizube
On December 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor and Empress made a virtual visit to Epson Mizube Corporation.
Their Majesties showed great interest in the effort that Epson Mizube employees were putting into their jobs and had warm, heartfelt messages for each.
At the end, His Majesty the Emperor remarked that "I am grateful to have had this conversation with persons who have disabilities." Her Majesty the Empress also expressed her appreciation, saying, "I'm glad to hear how actively you are all working. COVID-19 is creating challenges for everyone. Please take care of yourselves."
Their Majesties' visit will encourage persons with disabilities working throughout Japan. For Epson Mizube employees, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they will never forget.
Epson Swan Corp.
Epson Swan Corporation started operating in March 2002, when it was established as a special subsidiary of Tohoku Epson Corporation in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture. It was the first certified special subsidiary in Yamagata Prefecture. It is presently a special subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation. Located in the grounds of Tohoku Epson, 23 people with disabilities (as of April 1, 2021) clean dust suits and provide building cleaning services within the company. In October 2020, the staff also took charge of preparing PaperLab materials (sorting paper).
In addition to employee and leisure support, we also focus on professional development. In FY2020, we competed once again in the facilities cleaning category at the Yamagata Abilympics. Epson Swan publishes the magazine "Smile" periodically to promote communication within and beyond Epson. The magazine, available on our internal website and in print form, is packed with all types of information about Epson Swan. A total of 45 issues have been released, counting the most recent published in March 2021.
Workforce Composition and Service Period
|Male/Female Ratio||Mgmt. Diversity*1||Junior Mgmt. Ratio*2|
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation employees as of March 31, 2021.
*1 Section manager and higher
*2 Team leader
Length of Employment
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation employees as of March 20, 2021.
|Total turnover ratio||3.6%||3.6%||4.5%||4.1%||4.5%|
|Voluntary turnover ratio||1.6%||1.5%||1.8%||1.5%||1.4%|
* Data for Seiko Epson Corporation and domestic major affiliated companies as of March 20, 2021.