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Promoting Diversity & Inclusion and respecting human rights [10, LA1, LA12]

Kao intends to bring new value to society with the vitality generated from diversity and respect for human rights, so as to contribute to enriching people’s lives through Yoki-Monozukuri. Therefore, Kao endeavors to create workplaces in which diverse employees can demonstrate their capacities and enthusiasm to the maximum extent.

2015 activities

Evaluating and promoting employees based on their ambition, the percentage of our female managers has been rising. In the Kao Group as a whole (including overseas Group companies), as of December 2015, 27.5% of managers were female.
As part of our efforts to create a workplace environment in which disabled employees can maximize their potential, the CEO’s messages to the company are now supported by sign language interpreting or real-time captioning. We have also put in place company-wide consultation systems, with Employment Counselors for People with Disabilities playing a key role.


Based on the recognition that the vitality generated by diversity supports business development, we aim to realize an organization in which each individual’s diverse skills, personality and values are included and mobilized to enhance the company’s collective strength.
As we work to open up appropriate paths to employees with motivation and ability, we are also continuing our activities aimed at the building of a corporate culture that allows a diverse range of employees to flourish.
In particular, we recognize a need to promote diversity in Japan. To that end, starting from 2000 we have been implemented Equality Partnership (EPS) promotion activities.* As part of these activities, we have established an awareness month focused on gender, disability and human rights, and we bring together representatives of our head office and various worksites and Kao Group companies in Japan for regular EPS Awareness Activities Meetings, with the goal of ensuring that these concepts are disseminated throughout the Kao Group as a whole.

  • * Equal Partnership (EPS) promotion activities
    Kao Group companies in Japan have been working to build rewarding workplaces, where every employee can leverage his or her full potential, by fostering an understanding of Diversity and Inclusion and an attitude of mutual respect, and by firmly establishing these in our employees’ minds and behavior.

The 5th EPS Awareness Activities Meeting


Utilization of diverse human capital

Kao works to fairly evaluate and promote each individual employee, and to develop those with motivation and ability into global leaders, regardless of gender, nationality, or other factors. For example, half of those participating in our Global Leadership Development Program are employees of Group companies outside Japan. The program regularly includes female participants.

As of the end of 2015, women held 10.4% of management positions in our domestic Group companies as a whole, and 8.7% in Kao Corporation. While there are differences depending on the type of job and employment status, the number of female employees at Kao Corporation in the areas of consumer product marketing and planning, product development, publicity, consumer communications and PR, and social contributions equals or surpasses the number of male employees, and many women are flourishing in positions of responsibility.
Kao will continue to strengthen these efforts toward creating an organization in which an even more diverse group of people can play an active role.

Number of Kao Group employees (regular employees)
Total (persons) Male (persons) Female (persons) Percentage of female employees
Total 33,026 15,686 17,340 52.5
Japan 22,105 9,981 12,124 54.8
Asia and Oceania (excluding Japan) 7,091 3,679 3,412 48.1
Europe and the Americas 3,830 2,026 1,804 47.1
Status of regular employees (Kao Corporation)
  2013 2014 2015
Regular employees (persons) 6,172 6,664 6,970
Male 4,874 5,188 5,414
Female 1,298 1,476 1,556
Percentage of female employees (rate) 21.0 22.1 22.3
Percentage of female managers (rate) 8.1 8.5 8.7
Average age 42.3 42.0 41.7
Male 43.5 43.1 42.6
Female 38.1 38.3 38.6
Average length of employment (years) 19.4 19.1 18.5
Male 21.1 20.6 19.8
Female 13.1 13.8 14.1
Number of recent graduates hired (persons) 238 268 264
Male 170 193 195
Female 68 75 69
Turnover (rate) 0.4 0.6 0.7


Support for the lifetime career development and policy for re-employing retired employees

To support the lifetime career development of its employees, Kao offers employees approaching the age of 45 a Life Career Design Seminar, giving participants an opportunity to take the initiative in thinking about their own working careers through an understanding of their individual values (in 2015, 112 employees participated). For those in their late 50s, Kao also holds the Life Plan Seminar designed to support post-retirement life planning, offering explanations of the public pension system and simulations of budgeting for life on a pension (in 2015, 401 employees participated).
Kao has also introduced the Senior Partner Policy, which re-employs retired employees, with the goal of proactively promoting motivated, capable seniors and creating an environment in which their skills can be leveraged to the fullest.
Kao will continue its efforts to offer systems and create an environment in which motivated, skilled employees of all ages can enjoy a vibrant working life while contributing to our business.

Number of instances of re-employment after retirement (Kao Corporation)
Year Number of employees who reach the retirement age* Number of re-employment after retirement Percentage
2013 116 persons 64 persons 55.2%
2014 152 persons 116 persons 76.3%
2015 125 persons 94 persons 75.2%
  • * Number of employees who reach the retirement age = Number of retired employees + Number of instances of re-employment after retirement


Creating a workplace that respects human rights and free from harassment

To prevent harassment, Kao has published on its intranet a series of internal guidelines, including Guidelines for Preventing Sexual Harassment and Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Bullying, and has also put in place both internal or external consultation services for employees.

In 2015, case studies on sexual harassment and bullying by supervisors, etc. were included as part of the compliance training provided for Kao Group managers. As a result of this training, managers were able to appreciate the importance of harassment prevention from the perspective of those affected by it. In addition, harassment prevention sessions targeting mainly supervisors, making use of DVDs and incorporating anger management*1 training were held at Kao Customer Marketing Co., Ltd. (CMK), and human rights training etc. was implemented for all staff at Kanebo Cosmetics Inc.
Additionally, Kao designates December of each year as Human Rights Awareness Month, and conducts awareness education through distribution of newsletters and through poster displays and other efforts. In 2015, we issued a newsletter focused on the themes of harassment of non-regular employees and harassment of LGBT*2 employees.
We also continue to implement our annual self-assessment using a self-check sheet that summarizes relevant laws and regulations with respect to Diversity & Inclusion and classifying them into 68 items in 10 groups. We not only observe laws and regulations, but also achieve recommended targets for most of those items.

  • *1 Anger Management
    Psychological training aimed at helping employees to manage anger effectively
  • *2 LGBT
    An acronym for sexual minorities, encompassing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (those who identify with a gender at odds with that assigned to them at birth, either medically or socially) individuals


Promoting female employees’ engagement

Women’s abilities are indispensable

In 1934, Kao established the Nagase Housework Science Laboratory, where female employees played an important role. Since then, Kao has continued to recognize the vital role that female employees play in developing the company’s business operations. In September 2010, Kao signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, which are international guidelines for women’s participation in society based on UN Women and the UN Global Compact.

Expanding the number of female managers

Evaluating and promoting employees based on their ambition and abilities leads to expanded roles for female employees. As of March 2016, Kao had one female Managing Executive Officer, and one female Executive Officer. A further two women held Executive Officer positions at Kao Group companies in Japan.
Kao’s percentage of female managers tends to rise over the past several years, and stood at 27.5% as of December 2015 for the Kao Group including Group companies outside Japan; the percentage of female managers in the Kao Group in Japan was 10.4%.
There are many different types of workplace within the Kao Group, and the issues faced by female employees vary from workplace to workplace. To help speed up the process of creating more opportunities for female employees, Kao has been building on the proposals made in the human capital activation project implemented in 2014 and on the results obtained from internal questionnaires and manager hearings, by identifying problems in individual divisions and Group companies, holding discussions, and formulating and implementing appropriate plans in response.
In the future, the Kao Group as a whole will redouble its efforts to create a female-friendly workplace environment and to expand the opportunities for female employees to maximize their potential.


Promoting the employment of people with disabilities and creating workplace environments to demonstrate their skills

In line with its basic policy “Striving for a society where people with and without disabilities work and live together, Kao creates workplace environments for employees with disabilities that are conducive to work and offer reward.” Kao actively promotes recruiting both at its regular workplaces and at its special subsidiary.

Measures implemented at regular workplaces

As part of Kao’s efforts to support the transmission of information to hearing-impaired employees, starting from 2015 the CEO’s biannual message to all Kao employees is being supported with sign-language interpreting and real-time captioning.
In addition, in response to the coming into effect of the amendments to the Act on the Promotion of the Employment of Disabled Persons in April 2016, in 2015 we undertook a process of identifying and responding to issues relating to this area. To strengthen the provision of support for disabled employees, we have put in place a company-wide consultation system based around the Vocational Life Consultants for Persons with Disabilities. Disabled Employee Support Meetings are held for Advisors, as part of our efforts to improve the support system and strengthen its foundations.
Through measures of this kind, we continue to work towards the creation of a workplace environment that meets the needs of disabled employees.

Measures implemented at special subsidiaries

Kao Peony Co., Ltd. was established as a special subsidiary in October 2005, with the goal of encouraging hiring of those with disabilities. As of January 2016, a total of 22 employees work there, including 19 with intellectual disabilities; they are primarily involved with packaging sets of cosmetics and personal care products.

In addition, to further understanding regarding employment of the disabled throughout the company, Kao has established September as a special awareness month, publishing educational newsletters for employees, holding “Learning about Disabilities” seminars (which include visits to the Kao Peony facility) and conducting other relevant activities.
Kao intends to expand employment of the disabled as it works to achieve the goals of its basic policy.

Kao Group employment rate of people with disabilities*

Kao Group employment rate of people with disabilities
  • (As of June 1, 2015)
  • * Calculation based on inclusion of 11 domestic affiliates that are required to employ people with disabilities (Kao Corporation, Kao Customer Marketing Co., Ltd., Kao Field Marketing Co., Ltd., Kao Professional Services Co., Ltd., Kao Sanitary Products Ehime Co., Ltd., Kao Logistics Co., Ltd., Kao Business Associe Co., Ltd., Kanebo Cosmetics Inc., e’quipe, LTD., Kao Cosmetic Products Odawara Co., Ltd.) and special subsidiary Kao Peony Co., Ltd.
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