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Nikkei Woman and Nikkei Womenomics Project Conduct Survey on Female Workers’ Workplace Opportunity
“100 Best Companies Where Women Play Active Part” 2017
Dai-ichi Life Insurance -Tops in Overall Ranking

Tokyo – May 8, 2017 – Nikkei Woman, a women’s career and lifestyle magazine published by Nikkei Business Publications (President & CEO: Suguru Niinomi; Tokyo), conducted the “Survey on Female Workers’ Workplace Opportunities” and announced “100 Best Companies Where Women Play Active Part,” together with Nikkei Womenomics Project of Nikkei group. Based on the survey responded by the record-high number of 558 companies, the overall ranking is unveiled in the June issue of Nikkei Woman (on sale May 6). The survey has been conducted irregularly by Nikkei Woman since it was first published in 1988, and this year marks the 15th survey.

The survey measures how female workers are motivated and treated/promoted in terms of four categories: 1) promotion to managerial positions, 2) active use of women’s ability, 3) work-life balance, and 4) diversity. After appropriate weights are added to the scores of each category, the results are summed up to derive deviation scores for the overall ranking. The summary of the survey results is as follows:

*The total scores (deviation scores) are rounded to one decimal place. If companies with the same scores are rated differently on the lists of overall or category rankings, the scores differ in/below the second decimal place.

Top 10 in Overall Ranking

Rank Company Score
1 Dai-ichi Life Insurance 77.2
2 Sumitomo Life Insurance 76.8
3 Seven & i Holdings 76.8
4 Kao 76.6
5 Pasona Group 75.8
6 Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance 75.8
7 Johnson & Johnson (Japan) 75.6
8 Shiseido 75.6
9 Nippon Life Insurance 75.4
10 Hitachi 74.8

Dai-ichi Life Insurance topped the overall ranking for the first time (overall 3rd in 2016). 90% of approximately 56,000 employees are women. They continued all-around measures such as mindset innovation of the employees, female ability development, fostering female leaders and work-life balance. As the result, all the scores of 4 criteria including promotion to managerial positions were averagely high, which put them on the overall top for the first time. Sumitomo Life Insurance, which came in the 2nd (overall 12th in 2016), has especially high score in the category of work-life balance such as a system to support the balance and measures for reducing overtime work. They have also introduced a system that makes sure employees leave the office early once a week, forcing them to shut down computers at 8 PM not to let them work overtime until late. In addition to top 2 companies, it is the first time in 4 years since 2013 that life insurance companies account for 4 out of top 10, as seen in Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance in the 6th and Nippon Life Insurance in the 9th. This is the result of each company making progress in tandem in supporting the balance and workplace opportunity of female workers. Seven & i Holdings, which came in the 3rd (overall 2nd in 2016), has continued promoting diversity under the strong commitment of the executives. Women in managerial positions (section manager class) account for 23.0%, compared with 14.2% in 2012. 23 female board members account for 14.5% of all the board members. Shiseido, which topped for consecutive 3 years from 2014 to 2016, ranked overall 8th. All of these top companies make efforts in promoting female managers, making systems that allow both men and women to keep working while taking care of children and/or the elderly, reducing overtime work and so on. Only small score differences in the situation of the systems’ use or the rate of female managers etc. made this ranking. Furthermore, we reviewed some part of the questions and scoring criteria based on the advice from 3 judges (ref. Survey Outline) this year.

In addition to the overall ranking, four category rankings are announced to show specifically in what way the surveyed companies are promoting the use of female workers. The evaluation criteria and the top ten companies for each category are shown below:

Category 1: Promotion to Managerial Positions

~ Women’s promotion to managerial positions is rated by whether the company has female executives, the male-female ratio in the managerial positions, as well as the number of women who have children in the managerial positions.

The percentage of companies that “have a female executive or board member who stepped up the corporate ladder from the entry-level” was 31.9%, showing a great increase from the last year’s 26.6%. The top-ranked JTB achieved the target value of “making the ratio of female board members of all the domestic group companies 5% by 2016” as planned through mentoring program and common training for selected men and women. IBM Japan, which came in the 2nd, has more than 30% of female full-time employees whose positions are higher than section manager class.

2 IBM Japan
3 Johnson & Johnson (Japan)
4 Nichii Gakkan
5 Pasona Group
6 Takashimaya
6 Pfizer
8 Seven & i Holdings
9 JP Holdings
10 Accenture

Category 2: Active Use of Women’s Ability

~ Use of women’s ability is rated by whether the company has a dedicated section for using women’s abilities or training programs designed specifically for female workers, etc.

In this year’s survey, the percentage of companies having a section or program dedicated to use women’s abilities has increased to 63.3%, up 3 points from the 2016 figure of 60.3%. The top-ranked Hitachi and Hitachi group have promoted diversity management across the company. They have carried out “survey on active use of women’s ability in Hitachi group” since 2013, aiming at visualizing the current situation, the progress toward the goal and the challenges. AEON, which topped the ranking as well, has had activities of promoting diversity that involves 70 companies of AEON group. They are taking various measures such as fostering female managers and “Iku-boss.”

1 Hitachi
3 Daiwa Securities Group
5 SMBC Nikko Securities
5 Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance
7 Seven & i Holdings
8 Sompo Japan Nipponkoa
9 Resona Holdings
10 Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance
10 Nippon Life Insurance

Category 3: Work-Life Balance

~ Work-life balance is rated by the total annual working hours, the percentage of paid holidays taken, and the percentage of childcare leave taken by male and female workers, etc.

The survey revealed that the total annual working hours per employee were 1982.7 in average among all respondents, 4.2 hours decreased year-on-year (1986.9 hours in 2016). In Nippon Life Insurance, none of 63,000 employees worked overtime for more than 80 hours in a month in 2016. 41.8 % of the respondents “have introduced work-from-home option” and 16.3% “have introduced no overtime-work days for more than 2 days in a week,” which proves workstyle innovation has made progress on the whole.

1 Nippon Life Insurance
2 Sumitomo Life Insurance
3 Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance
4 Dai-ichi Life Insurance
4 Accenture
6 Daido Life Insurance
7 Hitachi
8 Johnson & Johnson (Japan)
9 Chiba Bank
9 Sompo Japan Nipponkoa

Category 4: Diversity

~ Diversity is rated by the male-female employee ratio and the retention rate in terms of the length of employment etc., as well as the disabled employees ratio and measures for promoting understanding of LGBT.

Many companies have enriched systems supporting work-life balance so that women can stay in workforce over a long period of time. In the top-ranked Kao, more than half of approximately 20,000 full-time employees are women, about 40% of whom are working mothers, showing many women are actively working while raising children.

1 Kao
2 Hitachi
4 Nippon Life Insurance
6 Canon
6 Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings
8 Dai-ichi Life Insurance
8 Shiseido

The survey results are covered in more details in the June 2017 issue of Nikkei Woman (delivered on May 6). Interested readers may also find the survey summary on nikkei WOMAN Online (

[Survey Outline]

The survey was conducted between January and mid-February 2017 by Nikkei BP Consulting, targeting a total of 4,300 listed and other leading companies in Japan, and received valid responses from 558 companies. The questions in the survey sheet and evaluation method were set by the judges (Ms. Nami Otsuki, Professor of University of Sacred Heart; Ms. Mariko Kono, CEO of Carian Inc.; Ms. Emiko Takeishi, Professor of Hosei University) and the editorial department of Nikkei Woman.

For further details, please contact:
Global Business Division

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About NikkeiBP

Nikkei Business Publications is part of The Nikkei group, which has newspaper publication as its main business and three additional business divisions of digital media, publishing and broadcasting under its umbrella. Covering a wide variety of specialized areas including business, computer, electronics, construction, services and medicine, Nikkei Business Publications, in July 2008, merged with its sister company, Nikkei Home Publishing, to also bring consumer magazines into its portfolio.

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