Corporate / CSR

February 15, 2017


Ajinomoto Co. Undertakes Work Reforms to Promote Workplace Diversity

Keywords: Corporate Well-Being 

Image by sathyatripodi.

Japanese food manufacturer Ajinomoto Co., announced on May 12, 2016, that it has started changing its working practices to set the stage for a more diverse and fulfilled workforce. The company will introduce a seven-hour workday, currently the global standard, so employees can reach their full potential regardless of their gender, nationality, values, or other identifying characteristics.

Ajinomoto's president presented the work reforms when announcing the financial report for the year ended March 2016. The Ajinomoto Group plans to shift to a global style of working, as traditional Japanese work practices tend to prevent female workers and non-Japanese workers from moving up in their careers.

Under the new reforms, the company will encourage its employees to shift away from current work habits, such as frequent overtime, that prevent male workers from being involved in family life. To catch up to the global standard, employees are expected to leave the office at a designated time so they can tend to responsibilities such as housekeeping and childcare.

The company started the reforms in fiscal 2016. Concurrent with other management and work style reforms, it will reduce daily working hours, now seven hours and 35 minutes, by 20 minutes in fiscal 2017 and by 15 minutes more in fiscal 2020. It aims to decrease average annual working hours from 1,947 hours in fiscal 2015 to 1,850 hours in fiscal 2017, then to fewer than 1,800 hours in fiscal 2020. The changes will be implemented first at Ajinomoto Corporation and then expanded to the entire group, with hopes that other employers will follow suit.